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Lay for the Day
4th December

The feast day of St Barbara (or it used to be – she was fired from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969). She is a protectress against lightning, explosions and suchlike flammigerous perils; hence the patron saint of miners, gunners, firemen and pyrotechnicians.
From the book of Praises:

30. Of Fire

Most picturing, of all things physical,
the spirit, fire draws – like inimical
brother water, mobile mind’s reflection –
draws us near as surely as convection
draws the air that body’s built on, that leaps
and aspires. As the meek liquid seeps
and trickles, is torn with roars, stilly poured,
but intending perpetually downward,
teaches the greatness of humility;
so this, ascending undeterredly,
with lozenges of brightness, from even
the lowest crown of flame, loosed to heaven,
takes for text the persistence of ardour,
the light of the world as self-surrender.

John Gibbens
from Collected Poems


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar