These Ashes - Nate Butler

(“Remember, thou art dust”  – Ash Wednesday)

Today, I’ve come back once more
I’ve come to this spot worn smooth by a parade of awkward knees,
I bow like the fragile man that I know that I am -
In my latest attempt to gain immortality
I seem to have fallen short again,

No more bluster, no more bravado, I meekly wait,
I anxiously search for a pair of understanding eyes,
Caught in the net of my flesh I stretch out a timid hand,
Twisted in the snare of my weakness I cry out for help,

Oh please, dear friends, do not despise,
Oh please, dear Lord, do not refuse
This Son of Adam reluctantly kneeling before you now -
This contrite man that finds himself in this place,

Today, people wear the grey ashes of mortality on their foreheads
Today, they say, “We are truly sorry and humbly repent”,
An ancient and interesting ceremony to be sure,
Only this time it’s not some anonymous penitent-
This time it’s me.

- N8 3/3/14-2/9/18 (changes made 2/11/18)