Ash Wednesday

Come on fill the house
finally and weep
for its king and queen sleep
both now
in the arms of
Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesdays of recent years have always brought to mind singer-songwriter Elvis Perkins 2007 debut album of the same name. This is a folk album by Perkins’ own losses–his father (actor Anthony Perkins) to AIDS and his mother (photographer Berry Berenson) to the 9/11 attacks. There are songs of playful hope and joy (enthusiastic trumpets, even). For the most part, though, it’s true, raw, beautiful music of grief.

Right now it is of course the title track that rings clearest. The quivering croon of Perkins’ voice seems to capture so well this slow season, when we commit ourselves into Lent’s mournful and penitent hold. When we begin our forty day walk toward Good Friday and its heavy, all-saving sacrifice of grace.

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