Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How Beautiful (from Isaiah 52:7)

"The inspirations of the Holy Ghost are quiet, for God speaks in the silent depths of the spirit. "Thomas Merton

How beautiful 
on the mountain
are the feet of him 
who treads
bright paths of
freedom!

From winter's
gray day he
sings into being
new life

peace
and eternal 
light!
*******
Какая красота (из пророка Исайи 52:7)

Какая красота
на горе
являются ноги того,
кто ступает
яркие пути
свобода!

Из зимы в
серый день, когда он
поет в бытие
новая жизнь

мир
и вечное
свет!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tree and Sunset

photograph courtesy of Sonja Bingen

"A tree gives glory to God first of all by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be, it is imitating an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree."  Thomas Merton

Oh, learn from the trees,
that through cold days' rush
endure, from hope to hope,
and embrace
evening's blush.

See how the faithful jay 
flits from branch to 
barren branch, 
and sings of 
summer's lost day.

For all trees believe 
in summer's heat, 
though icy winds may strip 
their tender leaves.

They know that change 
is always the  same, 
until
some long winter hence
they'll fall, by vicious storm slain,
and grateful life will
quietly end.


Originally published on December 10, 2011

Monday, December 2, 2013

Foggy Road






“...unity in love is one of the most characteristic works of the inner self, so that paradoxically the inner “I” is not only isolated but at the same time united with others on a higher plane, which is in fact the plane of spiritual solitude.”  Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation


+


in fog we walk
down the glistening road


our steps ring
like ice shattering


crystal souls, shards
sharp and eager
at last,
to rise.


You look
into my eyes
and see
nothing;


I look
into your eyes
and see
everything,


as together
we walk
down the shimmering
road.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Night Scene


Black windows frame dark
folded drapes; indifferent
stars peer through high arch.

Wine glass gleams. Fragrant
constellations, red dregs, swill
over empty stem.

Night trains blare, despairing
gates clang, steel wheels crease dark rails.
Night birds stir, dreaming.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flawed Haiku

clouds gather where none
had been, promising rain, they
scatter in vain

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November Sky

See the perfect sky of November
cloudless, cool, southern sun,
garden of blue eternity


vaulting over rioting trees, leaves
shouting that life is good
as they fall and with red cover
the green world


with perfect red
as in perfect blue
life turns inward


like the planet
to pursue


the fleeting sun’s
fading hue.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lux in Tenebris Lucet

“Lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt. (The Light shines in darkness and the darkness has not understood it.)” Thomas Merton

she lies, broken,
by steel needles
pierced.
dried blood caked
under translucent tape,
her chest slightly rising
and falling

almost motionless

but for her searching eyes
seeking light
in the darkness.

The Barren Time

The barren time approaches.


Shadows skulk through empty streets
vacant lines fill with lies.


Fear approaches,
drains pale the moon.


Only a single bulb
remains.


Do you see
them coming?

Are you afraid?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ordinary Life

My home’s filled
with living sounds.

Pans clanging
in the kitchen,

My son’s speaking
through thin chips
with distant friends

while pressed against my arm,
soft and warm,
the cat purrs with contentment.

She’s following
my dancing fingers

as I tap black patterns
on this glowing screen,
(to her, wise critic,
signifying nothing!)

I swim in this pond
like golden koi,
and inhale the fragrant
atmosphere
of my ordinary life.

Like Rising Flame

Like rising flame
my love ignites
the dawn
as molten sky
pours sacred gold
to fill your
folded valley
and compel your love
to conspire
with my soul’s
hot desire.

Driving Home

I glide,
past moon-drenched vines,
my feeble light casting
to where all certainty ends.
But beneath these wheels
the dark road sings
hymns of breathless
anticipation.
I speed
to that distant place
where I know
you are waiting.

Hear my love's breath


I hear my love's breath! 
Oh, where should I stay? 
Whispering fear 
to the stale, 
withered day?

I feel her breath
on my bleak, barren soul. 
She warms my heart, 
brings me out of the cold.

Morning Bright

Morning bright, night chill gone,
the scented wind stroking
high, compliant branches,

and I watch for you
in our summer garden;
lush in leaf and yellow rose
and silky grass
in vernal sunshine,

and It's you I wait for in the ivy shade
watching our lazy cat
stretch her dappled fur
on the bright, sun soaked
concrete step.

Like the tender vine
in the warming soil
I am content
to wait
for you.

Love and Living

“Life consists in learning to live on one's own, spontaneous, freewheeling: to do this one must recognize what is one's own - be familiar and at home with oneself.....The world is made up of people who are fully alive in it: that is, of the people who can be themselves in it and can enter into a living and fruitful relationship with each other in it.” Thomas Merton

What is mine,
aging skin
wraps my
inner world

where hidden rivers
course through veins,
rapids throb
with the
urgent pulse of
me.

Me,
my brain
snaps commands
at the speed of light,
compels my hands
to type living
words,

eyes send
sight
to prove the truth
of my
being

here as I wait
and watch
for you to finish
your warm
bath.

Laughing,
I see
that I live
in you
and you in
me.

Our Love


Lightning 
flashing in your eyes,
wind in your hair, gleaming
moon, passion
streaming.

It remains
deep in my heart;
unquenched desire,
our love's constant fire.

Fiesta

st francis santa fe

The old town square swings 
in the gentle desert breeze
as the band plays hot salsa and Grateful Dead, 
and couples dance and children laugh
in the dying day's lingering heat. 

We don't dance, 
although our feet tap,
our shoulders shrug 
to these fiesta rhythms,

We claim our seats 
under the ancient elm
in the cathedral's green yard, 
and watch as St. Francis, 
with sweeping gesture, 
blesses with eternal joy 
this lusty life.

In the deepening shade 
of trees and adobe wall,
we stand 
as the day declines, 
and the fiery sun descends 
beyond painted desert hills, 
the glorious moon rising, 
over Santa Fe

August

"This light shines in darkness, but unless God Himself draws us out of the darkness, we are not enlightened by Him, even though He be present."  Thomas Merton


soft summer wind
murmering trees
distant train
calling me.

sun-washed patio,
the house gleams
in the sweet after-
glow of noon.

the chairs are
waiting.

limbs lean to the
ground,
heavy with apples
waiting,
round,
sweet velvet light,

all waiting.

The Ground of Life


“He who is alone and is conscious of what his solitude means, finds himself simply in the ground of life.”   Thomas Merton.

I am alone 
in my high-back chair, listening,
attending to every sound, the breeze
through fluid curtains
strokes my thinning hair,
whispers poems 
into eager ears
of the soft moaning of the dove
who warms her thin eggs
alone in that small place
above our front-porch,
telling me that love
is certain.

sometimes in the night


"Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value and identity. But this revelation remains impossible as long as we are the prisoners of our own egoism. I cannot find myself in myself, but only in another."  Thomas Merton. Love and Living.


sometimes
in the night
I fight the 
deepening shadows
of sleep disturbed 
by fearful stirrings,
silent watchers
standing, waiting
as I fall  
into
nothing...

but when I awake
and turn to you
I feel your breath
and finding myself anew
again 
I begin
to live.

Proposal

In the glow of the autumn fire
your eyes warm me.

With bouquet
of winter rose you sweeten
our room; your voice lifts
away night's misty gloom.

So why ever
should we die?

My heart beats
in steady time with yours,
and my mind seeks words
to shine for you
like diamonds.

Oh, my love, let's live here
forever!

Aubade Wake Up and See


Wake
up
and see
how the sun
lights the top-most leaves
sets astir the delta breeze, shrugs
off night and drives darkness down into the flashing sea!


Fill Your Breath


fill your breath
with the warm delta breeze,
whispering leaves, all power
contained in a bit of green
and a murmur of rain.


in the hot summer sun
our fingers caress. I see
in your eyes what
I’ll never forget.

Reverie

Your breath

your voice
summer soft
lost in sleep

I dream
your whisper

rushing across
my bare
neck

your breath

lands unknown

soft days, warm nights, life
flows into life, seasons melt
to hazy light; hold tight

my love, and don’t let
go! for together we’ll jour-
ney to lands unknown.

In the Human Community

in the human community
laughter fills the air,
deep voiced fathers, uncles,
small children laughing, playing tag,
playing hide
and seek
as birdsong pierces
the opaque sky
fills with ancient peace
the resurrection-trees of resurgent spring
in the human community.

Aubade: Your Face


Starry lace wraps
your sleeping face.

With passion
I watch over you

like the moon
drifting
to secret
rendezvous,

to the importunate sun,

who, with ardent speed,
rises in-
to the fiery
east!

Bridge at Montezuma Slough


We drive to see
where the twisted road will lead.

Salty river, winding slough,
dark water
rising to frothy cap

slapping concrete pier,



moon driven waves race
back to beckoning bay.


Finally we must decide...

Cross the low bridge
or turn back.



But the flood is so close to the deck!


We feel tidal vibrations,
basso profundo,
rattle sub-sonic
in our ears
as together
we face our fear,

and slowly cross,
eyes always ahead
til again we feel sure earth
solid beneath our tread.


Aubade: Autumn


Day and night
our hearts beat,
arteries, veins pulse
breath swells ardent lungs
and we live!  

Oh, hear how the morning dove moans
in the pale early light;
Wander with me.
With open arms
embrace the radiant eye.

Our love grows
as slowly
we rise.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The English Teacher


When I told them how Jim Crow
made prisons of
bathrooms, restaurants,
candy stores, schools

and how the school bus forced
colored kids into a ditch,
(too black to ride)
and justice finally failed
even Sunday school girls,

they looked askance,
narrowing their eyes
and asked how people
could be so unfair,

so I showed them.

Six million gone
with the careless wave
of the Kommandant’s baton,
and Anne, discovered and reduced
to words on a page.

Their eyes grew suddenly old and grave.

Now
asking them to write April poems,
I say,
look at the cold spring day…
wind blowing
through restless trees,
rain filling the land to
make it green,

but instead they sing dirges,
of children who murder,
and children who die.

So why should I be surprised ?
They did not make this world
and I cannot lie.

Author notes

(after reading Billy Collins’s poem, “The History Teacher”)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sonata

"Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alteration of sound and silence there would be no rhythm."
Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island



The grave is empty.

Darkness, half lit by the blurred moon,
Chilled by the sea, the fog waiting,
The enthralled stars, nearly lost,
Searching for another earth,
The dark soil waiting for the seed.

Chaos-night.

The memory of a fireplace,
Warmth with music
Undulating arias
Like small birds falling into darkness.

Cold rain

Driving against my window.
Muffled music and dreams of water,
And another grave.