Thursday, March 31, 2016

Solano Sunset

Tangerine sky
etched edge, black
cut ridge,

dusky plain
broad valley

for inky night
to fill
the great bowl
of earth.

(18 June 2011)

Friday, March 25, 2016


“Come, dervishes: here is the water of life. Dance in it.”
Thomas Merton

The night looked bad.

Waves towered,
clouds racing
across the glaring moon,
the sea pounding out
all hope for their little boat,
when a ghost approached,
softly glowing,
impossibly walking across the
wet way.

Terror gripped them.

They saw grim Satan
striding across the waves
to take them down
to his watery hell,

But Peter,
truth clearing his fearful eyes,
saw His face, felt His peace
and, radiant with surging faith,
joyfully stepped over the side
to join his beloved Lord.

His feet touched the soft water.

It was like walking
through shallow puddles.

Lifting his legs
he moved slowly forward,

when looking down,
dark doubt
sucked him under
legs first,
then waist deep.

He cried, "Lord, save me!"

and thrusting his hands
to heaven,
he felt the strong grip raising him back
to life.

(28 Sept. 2012)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Morning (Good Friday)

Therefore let me know trust in the feelings of my heart. My hope is in what the hand of man has never touched. Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers.
 Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude.

Young grass
high and thick

filled to brim,

by morning sun released
a fury of green, trees

believing that golden day
will stay.

Persist, oh life,
in the cold of winter,

and beat, oh heart!
With tender heat

awhile yet
I breathe!

(6 April 2012)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Holy Saturday

Storms pass, winds subside
life abides.

See how the cottonwoods
spread new leaves,
fill the blank sky with
emerald sheen
as waving vines praise
the living spirit
of spring,

for soon the shrouded sun will flame
through constraining mists
and in glory rise to complete
this forgiven world
and set it free.

(16 April 2014)


I see your face
in the gathering storm.

Twisting and bent
in the rising wind
my soul groans
under the weight
of holy pain,

for bloody are my hands!

Thorns, like sin, pierce
my furrowed  brow,
and my tears fill
the guilty world.

O forgive me!

I did not see you dying
‘til I cried
scourged with the lash
of my own stinging lies.

(22 June 2014)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Proud Man

The humble man receives praise the way a clean window takes
the light of the sun."  Thomas Merton

The proud man 
is like a dirty window.

He cannot permit to pass 
the morning's glory;

whereas the humble man
dissolves in the light
of the rising sun

like a freshly scrubbed window.

(22 Feb. 2013)

The Joy of My Youth

The morning is cold,
the moon slung low
lighting the snow
iridescently blue

In the dark, glowing church
red votives flame
throw bright prayers
to the ceiling

Introibo ad altare Dei,
The old priest intones
“I will go
to the alter of God”

and I quickly recite
Ad Deum qui laetificat
juventutem meam

“To God,
the joy of my youth.”

The church is empty,
but still we go on,
chanting the ancient love-songs

to the One who lives
in the flickering flame

to the One who rises
in ascending incense

and hears our words
and becomes them.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Do Not Gaze into the Night

“We do not see the Blinding One in black emptiness. He speaks to us gently; His light is one fullness and one Wisdom.” Thomas Merton

Do not gaze into the night.

He is not in the cold wind
tearing at tender leaves.

No, nor does He live
on the mountain of thunder

nor on the crashing shore
where the surf pounds
time on rocks as old
rhythm itself;

You’ll not
find Him
in the piercing cries
of the children
of Syria;

but in your own
brilliant darkness
washed clean
by your tears

there you will find Him:
gentle, and full,
and wise.

(8 June 2012)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Do You Want To Know God?

Do you want to know God? Then learn to understand the weaknesses and imperfections of other men. But how can you understand the weaknesses of others unless you understand your own? And how can you see the meaning of your own limitations until you have received mercy from God, by which you know yourself and Him?       Thomas Merton. No Man Is An Island.

(Fifth Sunday in Lent)

How can I forgive
the man who
consumes childhood
like cheap wine

who hides behind priestly collars,
wears his holiness like a
circus costume,
to fill young lives
with piercing guilt?

Is there a man
to whom you will not
bend your brow?
who,  face-to-face at last
sheds tears of sorrow,
shocked to learn that
in the end,
you are?

and if you forgive
the man who pulled
levers in Auschwitz,
to release the gas
that made holy martyrs
by the millions,

if you give a second, third
chance to the arrogant man
who slayed the children
of Norway
because he feared Islam,

If you permit even the presence
of the greatest of haters
Der Feurhrer, Der Ubermensch,
drawn, at last, like a moth, to your
golden glow,

where is justice?

How can I forgive?

My cheeks bloodied
shall I strive to be
what I cannot be?

But if my vengeance
becomes my god,
then how could you ever
forgive me?

(23 April 2012)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


As fierce waves crash over my face
I gulp cold water, I flail
on rising tide,
but failing to find air
I despair and plead,
“why do you sleep
while in the storm I die?”

Yawning, sleepy-eyed you awake
and noticing my terror, wonder
at my lack of faith.

Frankly annoyed by howling wind
and complaining shipmate,
you rebuke both
to calm.

(17 Feb 2011)