“I am become like a pelican . . .”

April is National Poetry Month, and I haven’t talked about poetry for a while, so I thought I’d post this poem by Madeleine L’Engle in celebration of both NPM and Easter. Enjoy.

“I Am Become Like A Pelican . . .”

I am become like a pelican in the wilderness . . .
For I have eaten ashes as it were bread,
and mingled my drink with weeping . . .
But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever.
-Psalm 102:6, 9, 12

God is dead? Well, of course God is dead!
Where have you been? Did you not see the dark
Cover the hill and strike against the cross?
We killed him then two thousand years ago
And once was not enough. We kill him now
In each denial, each unloving act.
Daily we kill him, trampling on his name,
Spitting on his word. And we are told,
And rightly, that he died between two thieves
And not two candles shining on an altar.
And yet there, too, perhaps most terribly,
He’s crucified each day by priest and those
Who take him, unaware of all the clouds
Of witnesses encompassing them in song
And prayer, who kneel there coldly unaware
Of those who suffer in the adjoining pew.
We do not understand his feast; we live
Again his crucifixion, but forget,
Each time we crucify him there again
Between those candles whose bright flame is lost
To darkened eyes, that when we died for us
After three days he rose, and still for us.
We kill him, but we cannot keep his light
From blazing forth in flame for every one
Who fouls his word and calls him dead and cries
In loneliness because his name is lost.

And yet, receiving now my heart’s true food
I feel his light rush coursing through my blood.
Nourished by his spilled wine and broken bread,
I know that my Redeemer is not dead.

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