Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Divine Office of the Kitchen

Lord of the pots and pipkins,
  since I have no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things
  and vigilling with Thee,
By watching in the twilight dawn,
  and storming Heaven's gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals,
  and washing up the plates!

Lord of the pots and pipkins, please,
  I offer Thee my souls,
The tiresomeness of tea leaves,
  and the sticky porridge bowls!
Remind me of the things I need,
  not just to save the stairs,
But so that I may perfectly
  lay tables into prayers.

Accept my roughened hands
  because I made them so for Thee!
Pretend my dishmop is a bow, which heavenly harmony
Makes on a fiddle frying pan; it is so hard to clean,
And, ah, so horrid! Hear, dear Lord, the music that I mean!

Although I must have Martha's hands, I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots, I try Thy sandals, Lord, to find.
I think of how they trod our earth, what time I scrub the floor.
Accept this meditation when I haven't time for more!

Vespers and Compline come to pass by washing supper things,
And, mostly I am very tired; and all the heart that sings
About the morning's work, is gone, before me into bed.
Lend me, dear Lord, Thy Tireless Heart to work in me instead!

My matins are said overnight to praise and bless Thy Name
Beforehand for tomorrow's work, which will be just the same;
So that it seems I go to bed still in my working dress,
Lord make Thy Cinderella soon a heavenly Princess.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love and light it with Thy Peace!
Forgive the worrying, and make the grumbling words to cease.
Lord, who laid Breakfast on the shore, forgive the world which saith
"Can any good thing come to God out of poor Nazareth?"

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(The origin of this poem is undetermined as this is being published. It was read at the conclusion of the homily today, as given by the Reverend Franklyn Martin McAfee, DD, at the Church of Saint John the Beloved in McLean, Virginia. For what it is worth, "pipkins" is another word for "pans.")

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