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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