Blessing Ashes


O Mercy, bless these ashes,

the cooling residue of victory songs,

all our abandoned hosannas.

Bless us, too, for without this grace,

our shame may snub the smear of truth,

the public gray untidiness that signs us up

for pride’s procession to the grave;

and we may spend another year in hiding,

uncrossed by wisdom burning

in the counting of our days.