St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 11th March 2012
Trees and Lent
This Lent, Ann and myself have been reading Janet Morley’s book ‘the heart’s time’.
It is a lovely book of poems for each day of our Lenten journey.
A few days ago I enjoyed this poem by Jean Watt
Lent is a tree without blossom, without leaf
Barer than blackthorn in its winter sleep
All unadorned. Unlike Christmas which decrees
The setting-up, the dressing-up of trees,
Lent is a taking down, a stripping bare,
A starkness after all has been withdrawn
Of surplus and superfluous,
Leaving no hiding-place, only an emptiness
Between black branches, a most precious space
Before the leaf, before the time of flowers;
Lest we should see only the leaf, the flower,
Less we should miss the stars.
At present, the Royal Academy is holding the exhibition of David Hockney paintings titled “A Bigger Picture”. Many of the paintings are on vast canvases on which David Hockney has painted, from the same perspective, trees throughout the seasons of the year.
Jean Watt and David Hockney have in their different ways been on my mind as we have started this Lent. The stripping down of our lives is essential so that the summer foliage does not obliterate the stars from our view. Lent is a time for looking beyond ourselves to God.
A seasonal trim of our priorities.