Ash Wednesday

Penitential purple

colour of kings,

a seamless robe

and Lenten altars hung

heavy with the weight

of watching.

*

Forty days to face facts,

nights of unease

or surprise

like the first splash

of violets

in dead leaves.

*

Dust we are, to dust

we shall return,

by ashen cross

and fast we learn

that less is more

rich is poor.

*

And still he sits

scorched, alone

hungry for home.

The snake in the grass

eyes him warily, ready

for fresh ambush.

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