Praying the Sunset Prayer
by Jacob Glatstein
Translated by Ruth Whitman
I'll let you in on a secret
about how one should pray the sunset prayer.
It's a juicy bit of praying,
like strolling on grass,
nobody's chasing you, nobody hurries you.
You walk toward your Creator
with gifts in pure, empty hands.
The words are golden
their meaning is transparent,
it's as though you're saying them
for the first time.
If you don't catch on
that you should feel a little elevated,
you're not praying the sunset prayer.
The tune is sheer simplicity,
you're just lending a helping hand
to the sinking day.
It's a heavy responsibility.
You take a created day
and you slip it
into the archive of life,
where all our lived-out days are lying together.
The day is departing with a quiet kiss.
It lies open at your feet
while you stand saying the blessings.
You can't create anything yourself, but you
can lead the day to its end and see
clearly the smile of its going down.
See how whole it all is,
not diminished for a second,
how you age with the days
that keep dawning,
how you bring your lived-out day
as a gift to eternity.
Driving home from work a couple of nights ago, I thought to turn on CKUA and listen to Bob Chelmick's show, The Road Home. Often I'm driving my co-worker home and we end up talking away. But this time I was alone, and Bob (you can't listen to the show and not feel like you're on a first name basis) presented the above poem. Perfect for the drive home, which is of course the point.
At 9 pm the sun has long gone down. The sun sets here at about 4:15 right now! And so these photos are actually a little after sunrise. The low winter sun coming through the trees in the next neighbourhood from where I live.
In winter, day arrives, also, with a quiet kiss. Your morning prayer will be juicy, too, as you open up the archive of your day, and wonder what will be lived. All day long you will receive gifts. Watch for them, smile at them. Be ready. Receive.
Some bits and bobs:
Yesterday was the weekly posting of the Humans of EPL project I'm involved with at work. Please check it out, and 'like' it if you're on Facebook :)
Also, check out this rather beautiful mention of Asking on John Delacourt's blog.
Lastly, it's starting to seem real: my novel is coming out in 2015. Palimpsest Press, my publisher, has announced it in their latest newsletter.
I'm sure that's more than enough bragging for one day.....