Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Vigil Poem

I wrote this quickly tonight after attending the Holy Saturday Vigil at Victoria House with the Anglicans. It's one of my favorite services of the year, starting in the darkness with a flint-lit fire from which the candles, including the Paschal Candle, are lit, and then we enter the building, lighting a few candles at a time and read the liturgy by the light of the slim waxen candles we hold in our hands. This poem is a first draft, very rough, but I hope that it partially conveys the feeling of the Vigil service to you.

Saturday Vigil

a dim light struck in the pressing darkness,
the snap of metal on flint ~
dry branches capturing the spark.

a slim candle is lit from the small fire,
flickering alone in the deep universe.
then that flame lights the paschal candle ~
the thicker white candle in which five small nails
have been thrust along the raised red cross:
"the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end."

from the flint-lit fire is lifted
the fragrant incense,
carefully placed in the brass censer,
chains rattling and rasping
as the pieces are pulled together
and the candlelight is reflected in its brass surface
as the censer swings
back and forth
back and forth ~
cleansing and purifying.

we wait, as the disciples waited,
in fear and trembling in the darkness,
for the dawning light of the resurrection.
"weeping is for the night,
but joy comes in the morning."

(c) 2009 Susanne Barrett


Dancingirl said...

Lovely! Some really good imagery there.

Susanne Barrett said...

Thanks, Becky! :)


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