Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sanctified by Leigha Cann

We long for holiness as if we are not born into it. We use
our pencils to sketch concentric circles labelled consecrated,

As if the Spirit could be so easily contained. As if She were
not purple paint seeping through the page, as if

She were not the raging sea crashing through
the breakwater. We picture heaven as above

and hell as below, as far apart as east and west,
as if I am not grasping both with my fingertips.

We name the flickering flame of a candle on the altar, holy,
but not the forest fire raging across California,

not the dreams refined with fire, not the ash at our feet,
nor the soot in our lungs. Mother moon is named

hallowed. Yet in her fullness is blamed for our
madness. The silent night is the one we deem divine,

but what of the chaotic cacophony of humanity
that crowds the daylight and spills into dusk?

We call the kiss at the end of the aisle sacred, the
suckling babe blessed, but not the unzipping

of the skirt, not the sweaty palms clasped together,
not the awkward bumping of noses and hips.  

Holy is the knitting together, the creation.  But tell me your tale
of destruction, give me the sweet smell of decay.

Is there no glory in the coming undone? Show me the unravelling,
the mud on your boots, the blood on your face.

Show me the broken lock, the door kicked in.
Show me the sorrow you have swallowed, the joy

you’ve clenched in your fists. Show me the unfastening
of expectation, the ecstasy of release,

the wild rushing wind and tongues set ablaze.
And I will show you the face of God —



Leigha is a recovering Sunday school scholar who is learning to embrace questions without answers. Her bravest and most honest questions usually come in the form of poetry. An MSW candidate and lover of words, she believes in the power of narratives, both the personal and the collective. Born in Eastern Canada, Leigha calls the island of Newfoundland home, although these days you can find her writing and living in Dominican Republic. You can find more of her writing at leighacann.com and connect with her on twitter @leighacann


  1. There are no words for what this poem does to me. I am slain.

    (Also, this is begging to be a video. I see spoken word over quick clips of the images you describe, seeping purple, raging sea, door kicked in. Just saying.)

  2. This is what alive is like.

  3. Oh, how I love this one, Leigha!

  4. Love the imagery, love the questions, love the passion. Beautiful way to explode the limits we place on our picture of God.