• lenten journal: altar

    by  • March 5, 2016 • grief, lenten journal, poetry • 5 Comments

    The Madeleine L’Engle book that has been one of my Lenten companions is called A Stone for a Pillow, and centers around the story of Jacob. As a result, the idea of an altar has been on my mind, which has led me to repeated listening to one of my favorite songs by my friend, Bob Bennett, “Altar in the Field.” It follows my poem.


    I was off today,
    even though I worked.
    I was not myself,
    though I was recognized.
    I was weary and
    restless at the same time;
    full of emotion
    and searching for words.
    I am in the desert,
    searching for the stones
    we stacked as altars
    for days such as these.



    Blogging since December 2005


    5 Responses to lenten journal: altar

    1. March 5, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Thanks Milton …

      Words & Music: Bob Bennett
      © 1996 Bright Avenue Songs (ASCAP)

      I build an altar in the field
      So I’ll remember
      Back to this time when it’s so real
      That I am loved and not alone
      And if I pass by here again
      I’ll be able to see
      My life was scattered like these stones
      Until the Lord began to gather me
      I build an altar in the field
      So I’ll remember

      I build an altar in this field
      In honor, in memory
      Of the many graces I’ve been shown
      And the ones I’ve yet to see
      And so I leave this symbol
      Fashioned by my hand
      The marker of a love
      That I will never understand
      I leave an altar in the field…

      And when I’m lost inside my sorrow
      Overtaken by my fear
      When I am wandering in this wilderness
      Perhaps the Lord will lead me here
      To this altar in the field
      Where I’ll remember
      Oh, I will remember

      • March 6, 2016 at 8:52 am


        I wish I had adequate words to tell you how this song has sustained me over many years. The last verse, in particular, speaks to me–once again–in these days. Thank you, my friend.


        • March 6, 2016 at 6:48 pm

          Milton, thank you for reminding me of Bob Bennett’s gifts to us and bringing me to his web and resonating offerings whose images and melodies do sustain us over time. Blessings friend, Suz

    2. Suzanne Cate
      March 6, 2016 at 12:25 am

      I love your poem, Milton, and love Bob bennett’s painting of the word “altar” in his song. I got such a strong visual from it.

    3. Susan
      March 9, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      One of your best. A beautiful reminder to stack stones along the way so we can return to them when we experience inevitable days when we feel lost. Thank you for sharing your soul and such touching songs. Hugs to you.

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