Saturday, April 22, 2017

On the Feast of St. Catherine




The poet on the radio
earnestly read her expert lines
about the sad state
of the world,
the failure
of governments,
churches,
parents,
lovers,
the certain decline of
the cosmos,
the end of the world.

Her lines were exquisitely made,
and I listened with admiration and envy
to perfect rhymes, subtle
metaphor, nuanced images
until I felt both elation and
despair.

Then I looked around me,
to the riot of life in
my backyard,
the shrill ecstasy of birds
the shout of the rose.

My children gathered today
for a Sunday feast, full of
laughter and my corny jokes.

Maybe the poet didn’t have a backyard,
could gazed only on bleak
city walls; maybe her lover
walked out (or should have) or
her children never call.

I worry about the poor;
whenever a grimy hand out-
stretches, I see the pierced hand of Christ,
offering me gifts, pearls of great price!


(29 April 2012)

Author's Comments:

 I'm feeling guilty about dissing Adrienne Rich here... she really is a marvelous poet.  If you'd like to explore her more, try this link:   http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/adrienne-rich

Friday, April 21, 2017

Brian's Psalm



In winter's stark dawning 
in cold fog encased,
your warmth I'm discerning
though night will not fade, 

for unwilling is morning 
it lurks in sore limbs,
yet your song is arising 
and I know that you'll send

to my darkest night-hour 
new light to set me free
and your song I'll be singing
in the glow of the east!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wisdom

Photo by Brian Federle, Hawaii, 2016.

"I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race" Proverbs 8:22-31


Dark mountains rise
to meet the sun.

Night drops
to the western sea.

Skyward
lifting joy to heaven

as dark waves clash
washing clean the past —


all pain subsides,
fulfilled.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Eucharist

Caravaggio,Supper at Emmaus 
National Gallery, London



Walking through the dusty grove

we talked of death and empty graves

when a stranger suddenly appeared.

He walked with us and asked why we trembled so.
Amazed that he seemed not to know
of the blood and pain in Jerusalem,
we told him
how dark the day became, how the sun slid down
to shivering night
when, broken, our friend was placed in the cave.

Rebuking us for our lack of faith,
he explained how it was all foretold in the ancient books;
from Adam to David, the inevitable grave
insatiably claims
corrupt humanity

until now.

We heard, eyes cast down,
when at Emmaus he broke
our common bread

and looking up, we saw Him.

His face was blazing like the sun!
We blinked, and then he was gone,

but the bread remained.



(7 May 2011)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

from "Memorial"

Spring  
Seven years after my father died
my first child, my son, was born in spring,
and in the gleaming, sterile room
I first held him in my arms
as, with his impossibly wide, blue eyes
he calmy gazed right into my raw soul,
and I felt in a sudden rush of warmth,
a timeless love
and at last discovered
the reason for my life.
It was then
I understood my father.
In my son’s face I saw my own
and felt my father’s eyes gazing
in warm wonder on me
and I glowed with
unconditional love for my son.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Peter's Report


The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulcher
 on the Morning of the Resurrection by Eugène Burnand

Running all the way,
bent double in breathless pain
we peer and see
the gaping grave
open to the rising sun.

Slowly we enter, our eyes sun-blind,
when we see the empty bench,
the bloody cloth cast within.

I try to imagine
how light must have pierced the cloth,
the sudden shudder
of His broken body,
His sharp breath exploding
like a swimmer breaking the surface,

and I see John’s eyes
outshining the sun,
and my own face
lighting even death's
darkest place!

(24 April 2011)

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sadness of Holy Saturday


Through the moonless night
clouds choke receding light

and the world descends
into darkness.

Where are you
as winter's chill pierces my hands? 

Oh, where have you gone? 

Do you not care that I decay
without your gentle breath,
that without your light 
I wane like the failing sun?

Why have you abandoned me?

Through my tears I see 
two millennia of agony, 
the six million slain,
all the fallen generations
newly free, heavy nails 
at last released. 



(for James Foley, Journalist, first American murdered

by ISIS on 8/19/2014)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lovesong



I will be there always
even though you don't know me.

My life will shine in your eyes,
O child of my child.

With your small, quick breaths
I will breathe again,
and when you cry
my faithful heart will again break.

So look for me in the still, high trees;
the green brilliance of the winking sun
will be our secret signal.

You don't know me, but
your soul, your golden love,
your fears and hopes
I will keep safe in my heart,

and in the soft wind will I sing to you
O beautiful child.
I will guard you
as you play.
 
Look up at dancing spring clouds
and shout your joy skyward
to me!

(8 December 2010)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Storm



Driving home
rain lashes our car,
waves slash the road

like blood running,
like red streams
from tail-lights as


the sky's anger,
grief unleashed
consumes the world.


Hands clasped
on the steering wheel,
I guide us home


where we remember
that you are gone.


Tears rain
down our window
panes.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Denial of St. Peter


Caravaggio, The Denial of St. Peter

On the edge
hands clenched, 
sad eyes downcast
bitter fear forcing tight his lips
he holds his breath

he pauses
as the angry finger
of the state
points at his throat,
hard eyes searching Peter’s
indecision
for rash conviction;

but she, she knows
has seen before
his adoring eyes, heard his 
boastful voice
by the campfire
of the condemned.

Slowly he moves
toward the inevitable lie
as the bloody sun
stirs to song
the drowsy cock.

(7 June 2012)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Rejection of Jesus (Palm Sunday)



Jesus the Homeless, bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz
Regis College, the University of Toronto.


“I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!” 
Jeremiah 20:10


Why do you not believe me?

Have I not wept
as, lost and empty
you cried out in the night?

I shed bitter tears
when at last you fell
and did not arise.

I’ll breath my anguish
and fire your still heart
with my passion.

What more can I do for you

than die?

(27 March 2015)