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Fresh Ashes

2 May 2013 No Comment

The Reverend Evon Marie Lloyd

The Reverend Evon Marie Lloyd
First Presbyterian Church
Coudersport, Pennsylvania

Last December the organist/choir director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)congregation I serve as pastor was shot to death during the first hymn of our Sunday morning worship service. We have been through quite a process of healing ever since and it will continue for some time yet to come.

This poem was written upon the occasion of burning my pastor’s robe, which I had used to cover my friend and organist immediately after she had been shot and while she died.

In the wake of continued pain and suffering around the globe I find that allowing ourselves to grieve, being gentle with ourselves and one another,and staying in touch with our loved ones, friends, neighbors and acquaintances while listening to our hearts is primary.  I believe our Divine Source speaks to us and through us in our hearts. We are more connected than we realize and when those connections are revealed a smile indeed comes to my face.

Fresh Ashes

There are fresh ashes in the fire ring this evening.

My eyes sting and I smell of wood smoke and unnatural synthetic.

Because today was the day.

I didn’t know it was the day when I sluggishly awakened this morning

wondering why I was having trouble arising.

I didn’t know it was the day

when I found myself sharing with one beloved more of the ongoing story of trauma.

I didn’t know it was the day when another beloved guided my attention to Death -

being surrounded by Death

the death of one beloved in recent days

of one dying as we spoke

and as unshed tears became myriad

in the remembering.


Today became the day and

the ashes are fresh in the fire ring.

My eyes sting and I smell of wood smoke and unnatural synthetic.

For today was the day to make burnt offering.

The academic gown, a preacher’s robe-become-shroud for one beloved, offered in flames.

Twenty-five years of service in worship, at weddings, funerals, baptisms, and graveside

its service concluded in gift as shroud over one beloved during Advent.

My robe burned with Christmas tree branches and sage.

Prayers lifted in smoke and evening sacrifice.

Ashes floated on the gusty breezes and freckled my sweater and hair.

There are fresh ashes in the fire ring,

now drenched in holy water as the wind picks up.

My eyes sting and I smell of wood smoke.

I’ll carry the fragrance with me for awhile.

For today was the day, and the mourning continues,

maybe it will be a bit easier now

if only a little bit easier.


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