Ascension Poetry

POETRY: How To Prepare For The Second Coming by Abigail Carroll

May 16, 2018

Start by recalling the absolute goodness of rain and repent for every grumble you have ever made about the weather (this will take approximately forever.) Next, you will want to commit a theft: with deft lock-picking and a shrewd hand, steal back the hours you fed to the hungry god of work, then squander them on hydrangeas, Wordsworth, voluntary sidewalk repair. Teach a child to lace a shoe (your child or another’s—any four-year old will do), and while you’re at it, set the alarm for three, and fumble through the dark to the pond to guard the salamanders as they cross the road. If, having accomplished these tasks, you wish to go on, sit at your desk and carefully design a few radical acts of grace, by which I mean murder (of a sort): [...]

POETRY: Ascension by Kathleen Norris

May 10, 2018

Why do you stand looking up at the skies? (Acts 1:11) It wasn’t just wind, chasing thin gunmetal clouds across the loud sky; it wasn’t the feeling that one might ascend on that excited air, rising like a trumpet note. And it wasn’t just my sister’s water breaking, her crying out, the downward draw of blood and bone…. It was all of that, the mud and new grass pushing up through melting snow, the lilac in bud by my front door, bent low by last week’s ice storm. Now the new mother, that leaky vessel, begins to nurse her child, beginning the long [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by Denis Devlin

May 31, 2017

It happens through the blond window, the trees With diverse leaves divide the light, light birds; Aengus, the god of Love, my shoulders brushed With birds, you could say lark or thrush or thieves And not be right yet—or ever right— For it was God’s Son foreign to our moor: When I looked out the window, all was white, And what’s beloved in the heart was sure, With such a certainty ascended He, The Son of Man who deigned Himself to be: That when we lifted out of sleep, there was Life with its dark, and love above the [...]

POETRY: Sunday After Ascension, by John Keble

May 28, 2017

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (Peter 4:10) The Earth that in her genial breast Makes for the down a kindly nest, Where wafted by the warm south-west It floats at pleasure, Yields, thankful, of her very best, To nurse her treasure: True to her trust, tree, herb, or reed, She renders for each scatter’d seed, And to her Lord with duteous heed Gives large increase: Thus year by year she works unfeed, And will not cease. Woe worth these barren hearts of ours, Where Thou hast set celestial flowers, And water’d with more balmy showers, Than e’er distill’d In Eden, on th’ ambrosial bowers— Yet nought we yield. Largely Thou givest, gracious [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by Malcolm Guite

May 27, 2017

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory Whilst we were rooted still in time and place As Earth became a part of Heaven’s story And Heaven opened to his human face. We saw him go and yet we were not parted He took us with him to the heart of things The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted Is whole and Heaven-centered now, and sings, Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness, Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight, Whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness And sing the waning darkness into light, His light in us, and ours in him concealed, Which all creation waits to see revealed [...]

POETRY: Ascension, by John Donne

May 25, 2017

Salute the last, and everlasting day, Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son, Ye whose true tears, or tribulation Have purely wash’d, or burnt your drossy clay. Behold, the Highest, parting hence away, Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon; Nor doth He by ascending show alone, But first He, and He first enters the way. O strong Ram, which hast batter’d Heaven for me! Mild lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark’d the path! Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see! O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath; And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise, Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and [...]

POETRY: Ascension Day, by John Keble

May 5, 2016

Soft cloud, that while the breeze of May Chants her glad matins in the leafy arch, Draw’st thy bright veil across the Heavenly way Meet pavement for an angel’s glorious march: My soul is envious of mine eye, That it should soar and glide with thee so fast, The while my grovelling thoughts half buried lie, Or lawless roam around this earthly waste. Chains of my heart, avaunt I say— I will arise, and in the strength of love Pursue the bright track ere it fade away, My Savior’s pathway to his home above. Sure, when I reach the point where Earth Melts into nothing from th’ uncumbered sight, Heaven will o’ercome th’ attraction of my birth. And I shall sink in yonder sea of light: Till resting by th’ [...]

POETRY: Ascension by Denise Levertov

May 20, 2015

Stretching Himself as if again, through downpress of dust upward, soil giving way to thread of white, that reaches for daylight, to open as green leaf that it is. . . Can Ascension not have been arduous, almost, as the return from Sheol, and back through the tomb into breath? Matter reanimate now must relinquish itself, its human cells, molecules, five senses, linear visions endured as Man— the sole all-encompassing gaze resumed now, Eye of Eternity. Relinquished, earth’s broken Eden. Expulsion, liberation, last self-enjoined task of Incarnation. He again Fathering Himself. Seed-case splitting, He again Mothering His birth: torture and bliss. [...]

POETRY: Beware, Soul Brother, by Chinua Achebe

October 11, 2013

We are the men of soul men of song we measure out our joys and agonies too, our long, long passion week in paces of the dance. We have come to know from surfeit of suffering that even the Cross need not be a dead end nor total loss if we should go to it striding the dirge of the soulful abia drums. . . But beware soul brother of the lures of ascension day the day of soporific levitation on high winds of skysong; beware for others there will be that day lying in wait leaden-footed, tone-deaf passionate only for the deep entrails of our soil; beware of the day we head truly skyward leaving that spoil to the long ravenous tooth and talon of their hunger. Our ancestors, soul brother, were wiser than is often made out. Remember they gave Ala, [...]

POETRY: The Ascension, by Fray Luis de León

May 10, 2013

How can you leave your flock, O holy shepherd, in this valley deep and dark, while you break the pure air, departing to regions immortal and secure? Those once blessed, now sad, afflicted, those nourished at your breast and now by you dispossessed, where will they turn their faces? Can their eyes, having seen the beauty of your face, see anything now that does not fret them? And to ears that heard your sweetness, is not all else clamor and dullness? And that swollen sea, who now shall calm it? Who tame the burning wind? With you in eclipse, what star shall guide the ship to port? O envious cloud, do you grudge even our brief delight? Where do you fly in such haste? Your departure, so splendid and bright! But how poor and blind you leave [...]

POETRY: Ascension Hymn, by Henry Vaughan

May 17, 2012

 From: Silen Scintillans, Part II Dust and clay Man’s ancient wear! Here you must stay, But I elsewhere; Souls sojourn here, but may not rest; Who will ascend, must be undrest. And yet some That know to die Before death come, Walk to the sky Even in this life; but all such can Leave behind them the old Man. If a star Should leave the Sphere, She must first mar Her flaming wear, And after fall, for in her dress Of glory, she cannot transgress. Man of old Within the line Of Eden could Like the Sun shine All naked, innocent and bright, And intimate with Heav’n, as light; But since he That brightness soiled, His garments be All dark and spoiled, And here are left as nothing worth, Till the Refiner’s fire breaks forth. Then [...]