Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hope


“Hope takes us entirely out of this world while we remain bodily in the midst of it. Our minds retain their clear views of what is good in creatures. Our wills remain chaste and solitary in the midst of all created beauty...”  Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island

Clear and whole, 
the moon waits,

patient,
solitary self
chastly gazing
on the blazing east 

on the new sun,
the good day.

(3 July 2012)


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve, After Mass

The light from the tree
throws gold on my
dark wall.

Night lurks, but
thin windows
keep the wind at bay

as day flows faithfully
to day.

So we wait

for the exuberant sun
to spill reckless warmth
over the grateful Earth.

Life is a prize,
a gift of great value

gold given by the eastern king
to the newborn
child.

So receive it!

Your faith
has saved you.

(24 December 2010)

Gloria

Sudden light
flares in the eastern sky.

Bright clouds burst
and consume the void
with glory.

The newborn child,
wrinkled and pink, warms
in his mother’s embrace

and waits for the stunned world
to exhale.

(23 December 2012)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Listen to That Darkness

"Oh, listen to that darkness, listen to that deep darkness, listen to those seas of darkness on whose shores we stand and die. Now can we have you, peace, now can we sleep in Your will, sweet God of peace? Now can we have Your Word and in Him rest?" Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours.

+++++++++++++

I'll wait in this bright room.


Night rages, windows fade
to none,


and trees bend, thrashed
by your love-song.


For you I'll wait -
Oh when, oh
when
will you come?

(23 Aug 2013)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Transition


The generals line-up, war-plans
in withered hands, ready to strike
the children.

But do not fear this transition!
For above the black clouds, know that He lingers,
Ready to strike!

Then will the blind see and the deaf hear.
Then will we leap for joy
As the mute break forth
In song!

Isaiah 35: 1-6A - 10.


(10 Dec 2016)

Stones in the Darkness

stones in the darkness
cold, unseen, the wind above
my wooden fence sighs

silence in the night;
I hear only my hushed breath,
feel my waning life.

(12/26/2013 - 10 Dec. 2016)

Debate




The man of science said
that in the beginning
there was nothing,
when
obeying some quantum urge,
suddenly everything
emerged..

and that was all.. .

that was just
the way it happened... no need
for God...just cold, hard
cosmic law.

But the poet,
hearing his breath
rush deep within his lungs,
feeling his heart pound in anticipation,
says to his beloved,

“Ha! I found You!”

(24 April 2014)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

They Seek You in the Storm

They seek you in the storm
riding high above the lightning, striking
the yielding earth with your fire.


In fields of the dead; in
seeds flung deep -
the generations unknown,

they seek you
in the stars
coldly staring,
your imagined face
in the emptiness of
interstellar
space.


But I know you. 

Lurking
in my lonely night,
alone, I seek.

(31 March 2014; 8 Dec 2016)

terminator



In Memoriam John Glenn: July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016


Thin line of night, 
edge of living light,
inevitable
as God's mighty hand, 
wipes clean 
this dirty slate
to begin again
a clear, new day.
**

New Year's Eve, 12/31/2011

grace




Hail Mary
full of grace
you are
filled with grace,
with grace
fill me
in streams
of yes
draw me
to where you are
to where He is
among wo-
men,
yes,
among men
blessed
fruitful, grace-
fully gliding
through the
dark veil
at the hour
of yes
to my
death,
amen.

(29 December 2012)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Winter Tree





The winter tree 
does not move.

Its wide trunk 
plunges into graven earth, 
unseen roots, grasping hands
feel deeply the living soil,
hold firm anchorage
against the coming storm,

but rising wood, thin
though strong enough 
to paint slender lines, 
trails into purer air, 
gives shelter
to Christmas birds.

They hunch on stems, quietly
waiting to sing open 
the dawn.

(12/23/2011)




Sunday, December 4, 2016

Life...by itself

“Life…by itself has neither purpose nor fulfillment.“ Thomas Merton

Fill my day
with soft breezes.

I hear the birds call;
singing bees
swarm
with the pleasure
of the sting.

Oh! Let me breathe deeply
the innocent air!

Minute by minute
force my life
through thin membranes,

for in the end
sleep will lead me
to bright seas, dreams
of fading mist;

then
fill it full
with your love!


(28 July 2013)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

silent night

stones in darkness
the cold wind sighs.

O hear my prayer
on this silent night!

the faint breath
of waning life.

November 1978




i.
November lies in wait, violent month
stripping life from the garden
wind ripping leaves from living trees.

So much can happen after the harvest,
life can be broken,
the grave made rich.



ii.


Kennedy rode exposed in the cold Dallas sun
when a bullet ripped the November air, and
dark winds ran riot through fields of heaven,

dirty cyclones scattering dust
into our stinging eyes

and we cried under the black crepe
draped over blank, empty windows.
























iii.



November, 1978, loomed large

in the twilight haze as we waited
and uneasily watched the news.

In thirsty Jonestown
the November heat swelled
the bodies of black children,
huddled in the arms of still mothers,
empty paper cups strewn on the ground
dripping purple Kool-Aid, happy drink for a hot day,
poisoned with bitter megalomania.

The stench of fear
permeated Geary Boulevard,
filling the looming, empty halls
of the People's Temple.

Protected by the glass wall of my television
I observed this distant slaughter
my eyes spared from the sting
of personal tears.


iii

But November soon became personal,
and quickly took my father
and left me stunned,
empty and cold as frozen Ohio.





Bad comes in threes,
and in my rented car,
on the way home from the cemetery,
I heard of bloody mayhem in San Francisco,
madness splattering City Hall,
in the thick blood of Moscone and Milk,
struck down on a cloudy
November day.


(22 Nov. 2013)


Monday, November 21, 2016

Changes



Bird song rises 
in pure, liquid waves

as golden leaves
arc, twisting
to the ground.

Heavy gold
must fall.

October heat
will give way 
to winter rain.

Yet inevitably life flows 
like the breeze
rising from the broad sea
to the high Sierra;

grey clouds rise
and heavy snow falls.

All living waters

give praise.

(5 Oct 2010)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rain blurs my windows

Rain blurs my windows
melting color into color,
green grass merging
to luxuriant red blooms.

Golden leaves
fly wildly to the grass
and make of the lawn
a mottled carpet,
waiting for a brighter day
when my rake will scrape
them all into tall, brittle piles.

But today is a good day
to stay inside,
warm and dry.

(24 Oct. 2010)

She Sits in the Old, Red Chair

She  sits in the old, red chair
feet up, the red crush of the ottoman
giving rest to tired ankles.

At ninety-nine, her face is lined
and thin, cheekbones jut beneath
piercing young eyes, as hands, 
thin, pale skin barely concealing
vein and bone, lie in repose in her lap

as we talk, remembering all the days
and find her mind a crystal stream
vibrant, alive with a life of love

filled with places past 
and people gone.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Chocolate Hills



the green world drinks
the blue sky dry;
life’s tender leaf declines
while ancient cambrian
fire survives.

(17 March 2013)

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Homecoming



When you were in Vietnam
we got your letters, two or three at once
and then the whole house buzzed like a nest
of honey drunk bees as we poured over
your every word.

We kids imagined you, strong, tough,
blazing with righteous American fury
cutting down those dirty commies,

but Mom and Dad
read each letter more slowly
glancing at each other
with darker looks.

Then one day we got the recording you made,
tiny plastic reels, shiny brown tape wound
in fragile loops; your voice!
just like you were in the room, speaking
re-assuring, everyday chat about R&R
and shopping in Bangkok. Finally,
the tape nearly spent, you said that
you were coming home soon.

And one bright July morning
you came home! Your hat was rakishly tilted,
a Lucky cigarette carelessly drooping
from the corner of your grinning mouth,
all paratrooper swagger, gold braid running
through your buttoned shoulder loops,
colored ribbons and medals all over your chest.

As you walked through the door
I stood aside, awestruck, shy.
You sat like a visitor in your own home
and we opened the packages you brought for us,
Christmas in July, as one by one we held
our Asian wonders, and watched
as Mom held your hand and
Dad searched your eyes.

But you were tired, so upstairs in my room
you took a midday nap, and when Mom told me
to wake you up for supper, I nudged your shoulder
and you bolted,
breathless,
down the steps,
into the quiet street
and stood at tense attention,
(the neighbors all gawking),
as you waved your M-16
made of air
and memory,

and waited
for the morters
to fall
and kill us all.

Then the light returned to your eyes.
Slowly you walked back to the house
and gently took me by my shoulders
and told me to never,
never
touch you when you were asleep,

and I never asked you why.

(11/11/2010)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Birther's America


Sit in dark rooms
as Fox news
complains
that the President
is really from Mars,
hell-bent on preventing
our Saturday-nights
from being
special.

We have the Constitutional right
to carry death
like a flask
in our hip pockets.

But this foreigner
wags his black finger
and calmly spews
sense
like spit
on our red necks.

So the plan is to wait
patiently
until the day
all these bleeding hearts
are dropped, one by one,
by lone
assassins,

and in the end,
alone in our darkness,
we…will…win.

(9 April 2011)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunset on All Soul's Day

Sunset glows
over sharp, dark ridges

rich with vermilion
and ruddy blush

as gathered souls stretch
incarnadine fingers

in clouds sweeping  down
blessing bleak coastal hills.

For their love arises
from the raw, bleeding sun,

their golden breaths
coalesce
into pure, lucid song.

(1 Nov 2011)

Prayer for All Souls Day

Oh fill me with your
sacred fire.
I long to rise from

this moldering pyre, 
but I'm trapped
beneath the dying sun.  

Your love
is just beyond my reach, 
and sight fails  
as I falter 
and back 
to basic earth
fall.  

O, lift me
with your mighty hand
and once again
I'll live.

(1 Nov. 2013)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Storm Clouds in October


Grey,
torn, and twisted
they fill the sky
with the slow motion
of gods.

Scraping hills
rising past the dry heights
they promise rain
and new life.


(25 Oct. 2016)