Monday, January 23, 2017

Scrubbed Clean

scrubbed clean,
the blue sky
black space

and wind fills my face,
raises me to heights
beyond fear, beyond

at crossings
as ancient trains glide,

but higher I’ll fly,
beyond the stench of ruin.

foul grief cannot follow
to where I’ll go, lifted
by the constant,

Friday, January 20, 2017


through hospital corridors
past darkly soiled sheets

through bloody, cold doors
where the comatose sleep

to your death-bed, afraid,
where you waited for me...

...but this time was different;
your eyes understood,

you said slowly, gently
“God is so good!”

Breaking Silence

It is not speaking that breaks our silence, 
but the anxiety to be heard. Thomas Merton

In chilled twilight swells
the chorus overwhelming
echoing passion,

half of water, half  
of leafy bank, the night they
fill with lusty will,

persistent, straining
these marshland poets converge, 
anxious to be heard.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pure Hope

“We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, no rests in any visible ends. “ Thomas Merton

Close the the gun’s edge
life is sharply

Clarity is achieved
when you have nothing left
but hope.

That’s when you realize
that your life stands
without any visible
means of

like  a high-
wire walker,
you are

That’s why
you have the freedom
to stand between
the red rage

and the children.

(14 Dec 2013)

Monday, January 16, 2017


Photograph: view Golden Gate Bridge from the galley of The Hawaiian Chieftain. S. Federle

"Grace does not destroy nature, but elevates it and consecrates it to God." Thomas Merton

Seaward waits, poised,
gently rising and falling,
by the concrete pier
ready for our cruise;
the polished bowsprite,
jutting in defiance,
fills my heart 
with an undefined dread.

Underway at last on the calm Sausalito channel
we strike sail, ropes winching
mainsail tight, foresail stretched
catching breezes pushing up
from the foggy Golden Gate

but I see only
watery desolation:
no familiar, solid road
no bright guiding line,
no golden prize
as we speed across
the dark, green desert.

The wind, no longer a breeze,
becomes a cold gale, flailing our faces,
making us hurry into windbreakers and hoods,
and when I turn my tingling cheeks
towards the shrouded city, suddenly
out far and in deep, I see

pelicans soaring and plunging to the kill,
ducks skimming low over like fighter squadrons,
and sea-lions spying on us at water level,
their dog-sly eyes following our every move.

Warfare fills this place
as species battle species, and
Darwin writes all the rules.

On this voyage of discovery
we are like school-children gaping in wonder
at colorful plastic buckets of bay water
revealing sea-worms, and spider-crabs,
preying on tiny krill delicately inching
over fronds of firm sea lettuce.

So the bay is not a desert;
life pours over it,
on it, and under it,
claiming at every level
of this moist, roiling world
its birthright,

and we are unwitting participants in this struggle
tossed high and low in our powerful, winged schooner,
gliding lightly, scooning swiftly on our voyage
through turbid, turbulent waters,
through the violent,
living bay.

(22 July 2010)

Seaward sailing under Golden Gate Bridge