Orienting-Lent

in these steadily advancing

latter years lies far beyond

all banners, brasses, lilies banked

in resurrection rows of waxen white,

will not be forceable in any way

like golden-starred forsythia

winter cut and warmed to yield

its long stemmed foretaste

leaning into spring,

will probably, I fear,

be ushered in by pain,

the body aches of aging

and that deeper hurt that moves,

soul-wise, across time’s tracing

on the place where passions dwell.

The eastering I look for

looks for me, I’m coming to suspect,

suggests itself in soft, latefalling

snowflakes, waves in passing with

the wind through last fall’s drear,

tenacious-clinging leaves along

the sycamores and leaps across

alarming walks and alleyways

and yards, shadowing my wary

tread with timelessness in shards

of strangely dark, yet dazzling

fragmentary light.

—J. Barrie Shepherd

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