The boy kneels as the Father prods the coals
that glower in the thurible. The gray
ash sticks, then crumbles, shifts and falls away.
The embers surge orange before the granules,
like tiny jewels, are spooned onto the fire.
It is a simple ritual—almost quaint–
done with ancient courtesy and restraint.
In the burnt brass bowl, like a little pyre,
the fire and fuel co-mingle and produce
a waft of smoke that lifts to curl and cling,
and break the chains of human suffering.
It’s a burnt offering; Pentecost– A bush
blazing in the desert where I roam.
It’s the smoke on Sinai; the still, small voice–
and the sweet, cloudy pillar that leads me home.
This is one of the poems from my first collection of verse: A Sudden Certainty
Moved by both the picture and the words. I am saddened by the recent trend towards stopping the use of incense because a certain element of the worshipers are given to coughing attacks. Please note the censor does not have to be lit for the first cough which is a signal for others to start coughing. Never mind that these same coughers sprayed hundreds if not thousands of cans of hairspray inches from their noses with out effect.
I always tell my folks if they don’t like incense I’m worried for them because the Devil–he don’t like incense at all.