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Lay for the Day 24th February

The feast day of St Matthias, who was appointed to take the place of Judas as the twelfth apostle after the latter’s death. According to one account Judas was a suicide, and hanged himself in despair after betraying Jesus.
The scant details of the life of St Matthias include a tradition that he preached and was martyred in Ethiopia.
From the book of Praises.

64. Of the Disappearing River

That marshals its hundred streams
in the Ethiopian highlands
their pelts of mist,

conducts them to jagged falls,
enlisting their muds in the labour
of digging its gorge,

then heads, helpless, for no sea,
goes out to waterless wilderness,
the earth’s biggest hole

and surrenders to the sun.
There is its vaporous suicide’s
grave – unmarked, hard air.

From which ascending, absolved of salt and of sulphur,
it goes back clear and carries no warning.


John Gibbens
from Collected Poems


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar