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Two poems for Lent

Covenant is interested in publishing poetry on a regular basis, especially poetry that reflects on liturgical or theological themes. Similarly, we are interested essays investigating the theological character of well-known or obscure poems. If you or another reader write poems or essays of literary criticism and would like to submit some for consideration, e-mail zguiliano[at]livingchurch.org. Posts of this kind, published within the last year, include “Three poems for the end of Epiphany;” “Advent Calendar: on a poem by Rowan Williams;” “Likeness litany: facing the Image;” and “Ascension Song.” 

—Zachary Guiliano, ed.

Mark 1:9-15

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satanand he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”

A Request

Give me a vision, Lord.
I want to stare down vistas ’til I see
The Garden that you once set me in.

Could I catch a glimpse, please,
of the Cherubim you set to guard the gate?

I think I’ve known the searing of his flaming sword.
One glance, and I could give up trying to return,

And set my face to press on to the desert —
Where Jesus saw the Satan
And Anchorites grew Holy-Wise or mad.

Where the wild things are

A lion, a jackal, and a bear
And others of the wild beasts there
Were stunned to hear that voice cry out
To silence Satan with a shout.

Did they recall another Word
That their first ancestors had heard:
To call them into life and breath
On that sixth day before all death?

Angels present at his birth
Rejoiced to hear the Word on Earth
Rebuke the one who scorned them all
Then lured Man’s parents to their fall.

Beasts and Spirits pure joined force
To set salvation on its course.


The featured image is “Judean desert” (2010) by Julien Menichin. It is licensed under Creative Commons. 


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