under the alleluias


I once heard a comedian
say the only way to get to
the good jokes was to push
past the easy ones: go ahead
and say all the double entendres,
the terrible puns, and the sex —
the obvious stuff — and then . . .
only then — can you write
great comedy.

Perhaps I’m stretching
the analogy, but couldn’t we
say the same thing about faith:
laying aside the alleluias for Lent
is like writing great comedy
for praise can quickly turn to
platitude: God is good all the time
all the time God is good
God is good . . .

Yes, the words are true —
yet, what if we let them lie
like dormant roots under dead
leaves, what if we left them
alone for these days of darkness
and let our sorrow, our grief,
our questions, even our hopes
have the last word to see
what lies beyond what seems
to be most true

and listened to the birds
who are not singing, talked
to those no longer here,
wait for things that don’t come,
remember Love runs stronger
than sunshine, that hope is
not happiness, and prepare
ourselves for the belly laugh
of the resurrection.



  1. I love this poem you have written. Maybe you have published a book of your poems ?
    Its Ash Wednesday here in New Zealand today. Easter is early this year, so Ash Wednesday falls in late summer. Its cool today, 55 F maybe, an early reminder of Autumn.
    May God bless you abundantly as you journey towards Spring.

  2. I cannot even tell you how very much I LOVE THIS POEM. This is Lent in a beautiful, golden garment of words. Yes, I know ‘golden’ and ‘Lent’ should not be coupled. But this? This is truly gold. It will appear in my Ash Wednesday meditation during our service tomorrow. Thank you. A lot.

  3. Oh…I love it all, but the words, “remember love runs stronger than sunshine” caught me and held me there for a bit. Yes. Because love — real love, God’s love — is just as deep in the shadows, just as real in the pain, just as brilliant in the dark. And oh, when the dawn breaks, the joy bubbles up right from the toes. Awesome words!

  4. yes, this! and my intention for this Lenten season is to go deeper… “love runs stronger” than all our senseless words — thank you, thank you for this!

  5. I read some thing here just after Pete died…then I didn’t return for a long time, too long!
    Love you words.
    Love you heart.

    Needed to hear both today. Thanks Milton!

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