Poem: “Alert Sunday- First Sunday in Advent”


Alert Sunday–First Sunday in Advent

Alert Sunday. The greeter has smiles on his palms as he
Opens the church doors. Welcome to Advent!
A shorter version of Lent in December, he quips.
A chorus of coughs and women’s high
Heels parading across the floor tiles
Help me stay awake for 8:00 a.m. Mass.
I never noticed so many people dressed in polluted rags–
Shirts and jackets with totem animals, handbags with silver eyes:
Their sins will carry them away in fashionable windbreakers.

Stay awake. New changes in the liturgy. Stay awake.
I now have to announce a trinity of my faults, grievous to the bone;
I can’t hide anymore in a congregation of we at the Creed.
The Word wants me to be ready for new words.
Also with you. It’s gone.
Stay awake with your spirit.
I never thought of God as an employer, but he’s calling
For 24-hour shifts; give me a strong dose of spiritual No-Doz.
No gossiping, pray before I speak, don’t curse at darting traffic
Angels might be driving by on more important errands than
My getting home. All I can see is a single candle
Staying awake in the dark.

Philip C. Kolin
November 27, 2011


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