Another poem for Shrove Tuesday

Last year, I posted some brief reflections and a poem for Shrove Tuesday.  This year, while I recognize the importance of the things I said last year—how this day isn’t just loud music and beads and “Mardi Gras”, but how it is also a preparation for the time of growing and stretching that is the Lenten season—I think it’s worth acknowledging something else.  And that’s that Lent is only a season: that the real and “normal” touchstone of faith for me is not deprivation but abundance and joy.  So this Shrove Tuesday, while I do prepare mentally for a more serious time of reflection and self-examination, I think it’s worth leaping about, just a little, since this is a great day for stretching out into the world and feeling the happinesses that are there to be found.  With all that in mind, here’s a poem by Phyllis McGinley that captures those feelings I have of being on-the-brink—the awareness of the quiet and even somber time ahead, but the unwillingness to let that impair or restrain the exuberance of living now—and I hope that, regardless of your faith tradition, it has something to say to you, and something to call out of you that you will be glad to think on:

This is the day which the Lord hath made,
Shining like Eden absolved of sin,
Three parts glitter to one part shade:
Let us be glad and rejoice therein.

Everything’s scoured brighter than metal.
Everything sparkles as pure as glass—
The leaf on the poplar, the zinnia’s petal,
The wing of the bird, and the blade of grass.

All, all is luster. The glossy harbor
Dazzles the gulls that, gleaming, fly.
Glimmers the wasp on the grape in the arbor.
Glisten the clouds in the polished sky.

Tonight—tomorrow—the leaf will fade,
The waters tarnish, the dark begin.
But this is the day which the Lord hath made:
Let us be glad and rejoice therein.

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