Other blessings

Other blessings (29th Jan 2015)

Anoint me,

But not with the oil of gladness.

Let it be with a darker oil

That carries the bitterness

Of myrrh and aloes.

Direct me

But not with the map of easiness.

Let it be with a harder path

That leads me into the darkness

Of strangers and pilgrims.

Remind me

But not with a mind of blindness.

Let me be a stronger spirit

That seeks to find light

Amid the darkest days.

Touch me,

But not with empty, unsoiled hands

Let it be with blackened ashes

That mark me as humble,

Repentant and contrite.

Bless me,

But not with an easy happiness.

Let it be with a deeper soul

That seeks the sweetness

Of fishes and loaves.

17 thoughts on “Other blessings

  1. So very beautiful, Viv. I agree with your comment over at Philippa’s blog, about that evil core of empire. When some large unsteadiness sweeps over a region or the status quo is rocked, some unsavory elements (to put it nicely) are whipped up and finally exposed by the glaring light, skittering out and buzzing all over like a swarm of bugs. The mob mentality always lurks and waits like tinder to have a lit match thrown on it. Fire will rage for a time, but eventually it will burn out and there will be a time of rebuilding. In your poem you seem to look to the near future: “Touch me, But not with empty, unsoiled hands, Let it be with blackened ashes.”


    • Thank you John. The comment about empire is not mine but Philippa’s, though. The poem was written 18 months ago, suggesting a certain prophetic aspect. I’m reading a lot of H Rider Haggard at the moment, and in one of his Alan Quartermain stories, he drops in comments about vanished empires and lost civilisations, remarking that one day Paris and London will be as lost as these ancient ruined cities they find in the deep jungles of darkest Africa.


      • Regardless of attribution of the empire thought, it’s known what’s meant. And goodness what a truly beautiful poem, Viv, and timely. You have such lyrical gifts. I never knew. It may be that you wrote it for precisely now. It’s the shimmering fish which has come to the surface of the water with you kneeling down to feed it. It’s the loaf of bread pulled baked out of the burning building, rescued, broken into pieces and shared.


  2. Thank you. Wonderful and hopeful. I’ve found many blessings in darkness, bitterness, loss, and longing.


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