Ecce Panis, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt


In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti …

Clad in blue-gray woolly plaid, black oxfords
and pressed, pristine white uniform-blouse
on the morning walk from the dorms to the convent,
past the apple orchard dripping rubescent fruit,
past long-lashed benign cows gently grazing,
walking briskly across that green pasture land
into the greener wood rich in conifers and
the piney debris that crunches amicably under foot,
in single-minded pursuit of that brass-hinged door,
on into aprons, to Sister Mary Francis, the kitchen, bread.

… we therefore beseech thee, O Lord, to be appeased, and to receive this offering of our bounden duty, as also of thy whole household …

The romance was not with bread to eat,
but with yeasts to proof, batters to mix,
and dough to knead, and rest, and grow –
that beautiful, mystical living thing you have
before the baking and dying into bread, and with
the crackling timpani of wood-ovens firing up, pans crashing,
the rhythmic swish and sway of our community,
punctuated by the clicking of Sister’s rosary as she
monitors the students and novices in silent industry at bakers’ tables.
This is the sacred work of those meditative hours before Mass and school
and the business of music lessons and art classes and
the methodical ticking of Liturgical Hours until finally Compline, sleep and
the contemplation of that final sleep and dust-to-dust.
And this being Tuesday, the day to commemorate St. John the Baptist,
and the day to bake our bread for the week to come.

…order our days in thy peace; grant that we be rescued from eternal damnation and counted within the fold of thine elect. Through Christ our Lord …

The next bake day, Thursday, commemorates the Holy Apostles.
Oh, palpable Presence, we work in the silence of Adoration,
preparing pure wafers for a week of Masses.
In a solemn alcove reserved for this task,
we mix flour, salt, and holy water blessed by Father Gregory,
then the fragile process of baking on baking tongs,
silvery antiques, perhaps a hundred years old.

… which offering do thou, O God, vouchsafe in all things …

Receiving the Eucharist
knowing it was formed by my own hand.

…to bless, consecrate, approve, make reasonable and acceptable
that it may become for us the Body and Blood of thy most beloved Son,our Lord Jesus Christ…

Friday, The Cross and Theotokos (Mary),
mother of both God and man, Divine and human.
A girl, like me, perhaps a baker of breads.

…who the day before he suffered took bread into his holy and venerable hands, and with his eyes lifted up to heaven, unto thee, God, his almighty Father, giving thanks to thee …

Mysterious. Numinous. Inexplicable.
A lifetime ahead to figure it out.

Ecce Panis.

Take this Bread.

… he blessed, brake, and gave to his disciples saying: Take and eat ye all of this…

from the pastures and the woods, from the sky and the stream
from nature’s great cathedrals, everywhere present

... hoc est enim Corpus meum…

for this is my body

for this is my life


“Where is God? Wherever you let him in.” Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, Poland 1787

© 2011, poem rewritten in 2013, Jamie Dedes, previously published in The BeZine, All rights reserved; Virgin adoring the Host by Jean Auguste Donminique Ingres (1980-1867), public domain; Menachem Mendel Morgensztern bio.


What event or experience or time in your life (doesn’t have to be associated with religion) birthed for you the freedom to explore beyond the boundaries set for you? Tell us in a poem and share it or a link to it in the comments below.  All poetry on theme will be published here on Tuesday next. You have until Monday at 8:30 p.m. PST to respond.  All are welcome to come out and play no matter the status of your career: beginning, emerging or pro. Thank you!