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Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

About this Christian Poet:
I am a professor of English at Westmont College, have published a volume of my own poems with Eerdmans (In Quiet Light, 2000), edited a collection of contemporary poetry (Where Icarus Falls, 1998), and have a second collection of poems on Rembrandt's biblical paintings forthcoming from Eerdmans in 2003. I wrote this poem on a winter day in NJ where, as a native Californian I was "living in exile" while my husband attended seminary. "Early February" appeared in Where Icarus Falls, now out of print.

Early February

This is a sad, grey time--
pleasure here and there, but little
that deepens into joy--
not even grief that drives the soul
to utter its de profundis
and so be widened into prayer.

Only the feeling of nothing to rise to:
neutered moments of waiting, wanting
something, not knowing what.

Laundry to be done and breakfast
cleared away.

Grace doesn't always come as a rainbow.
Sometimes it hovers like a pewter sky
tucked in around the treetops,
bringing the landscape close to the eye.

Still, grace comes on a day like this
in odd disguises:
traction on my boots,
the man chipping ice off the library steps,
fat truck tracks to drive in--

and all the shades of grey.

For the gifts of greyness let us give thanks:
cobblestones and flagstones and boulders of granite,
clapboard houses, dark-shuttered and lamplit in the afternoon,
snow on asphalt, pencil and charcoal,
the naked stretch of steel that protects us
at the bridge's edge,
old movies from a kinder time,

the wolf and the owl—hungry and hidden—
the rabbit's fur,
the hawk's eye,
the dolphin's back,
the cocoon where a caterpillar
quietly works out
its salvation.

Copyright©1998 by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre