Three days before the mystery of Whitsun
A large tree across the road cracked in half
The wind too much for its dried trunk
As two men brought hedge clippers and a saw,
Insufficient in tackling the mess,
Looked for some time but finally left it
Branches loosely strewn, uncut and ungraved
Like an homage to those who stand against
The will of God, rather then bow or bend

My mother had strange encounters with birds
Once, a falcon visited her on a run
The force of his wings a kind of whitsun
Spirit of God hovering beside her
And a peacock later that year, full feather
His bright coloring like a royal crown
He turned to look her in the eye
As if to say nothing at all, but just
To be, a beauty that haunts her still

When wind kicks up again the trees dance,
Waving limbs in praise or obedience
Gusts rattle the windows of our flat,
As God bends the doors to our souls each day
And feign crack them open in his power
The Holy Spirit is less like flaming tongues,
Or halos circling imperfect heads
But a violent wind as it takes the roof
Off of our house and enters every room

Sarah Collister

Sarah Collister is a writer, teacher, and Anglican who lives in Cambridge with her beloved husband, Clinton.

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