In which Ruth ponders Lenten fasting

I’m not giving anything up for Lent, you know. Did I mention that already? I will eat chocolate if I feel like it, bread with my soup, the occasional biscuit in company. For anything else is just dieting but kidding on God has something to do with it. So when I came across this poem it made my heart sing.


All of the saints starved themselves.
Not a single fat one.
The words ‘deity’ and ‘diet’ must have come from the same
Latin root.

Those saints must have been thin as knucklebones
or shards of stained
glass or Christ carved
on his cross.

as pewseats. Brittle
as hair shirts. Women
made from bone, like the ribs that protrude from his wasted
wooden chest. Women consumed
by fervour.

They must have been able to walk three or four abreast
down that straight and oh-so-narrow path.
They must have slipped with ease through the eye
of the needle, leaving the weighty
camels stranded at the city gate.

Within that spare city’s walls,
I do not think I would find anyone like me.

I imagine I will find my kind outside
lolling in the garden
munching on the apples.

Joyce Huff, from Gargoyle magazine (Vol 44)


2 thoughts on “In which Ruth ponders Lenten fasting

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