Silent Observances: A Poem for the Fifth Week in Lent

Fear with a lot of hope showing through
Close up of a large square banner with the word FEAR is at the center. The words are all different fears, painted in dark colors. Five cut outs show a few words in brighter colors underneath. Image courtesy of Rachael Keefe.

Silent Observances by Rachael Keefe is from her book, Negotiating the Shadows.

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I stand between the seasons
winter has retreated – mostly
spring wakes slowly – reluctantly
I wait.

A wild goose builds her nest among the reeds
almost hidden
revealed only in her movement
She broods.

A man with a withered hand
presents a challenge
to his faith or to You?
You healed.

Before the waiting, the brooding, or the healing
came the mountain-splitting wind
the earthquake and the fire
Then silence.

Between winter and spring
in building and brooding
through the withered and the healed
after the wind, quake, and flames
the sound of sheer silence remains.

I want to retreat with winter
hide like the goose
cover the withered places
unsure if I can withstand the wind and storms


I will awaken with spring
move out of the shadowy reeds
reach for healing
stand still until a new day begins
to fill me with sacred silence.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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