It started out easily enough: I shaved off my hair,
my pride and my vanity, and cast it in the fire.
Trouble was, I just looked too damned good that way;

so I broke the mirror and used the shards
to prick out my eyes;
after that, it became more tricky.

Unseeing, I stumbled.
While I was down anyway,
I removed my feet.

Having involved my hands in
such violence, they, too,
had to go.

They gasped when they found me,
they covered their eyes,
they cried, ” Curse God and die!”

To remove the temptation I took out my tongue,
but the Spirit interceded with groans,
with sighs too deep for words,

my own lungs betrayed me,
the very air I breathed
had to be expelled, permanently.

At last,
only a beating heart
remained to remember how he

lifted away leprosy,
loosened legs,
breathed life in and sucked sin out,

strengthened hands
and sinews and souls,
and to wonder

when this would get better.

From this Sunday’s readings:
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better fr you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. (Mark 9:42-48)

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
This entry was posted in poetry, prayer, sermon preparation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Better

  1. Pastor Ken says:

    Vivid… sent chills down my spine, Rosalind.

  2. … as does this week’s gospel! Thanks, Ken.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s