Monday, February 27, 2017

First Day of Spring


doors open, ancient
hinges grind, summer’s sun grows
immanent as love

as trees, bare, bending,
tough and twisting as small buds
prepare to explode.




Apple Tree Waiting

troymainelocalnews.com - 1600 × 1200 -Photo by Dana Wilde
An apple tree gnarled in the snowless cold off the Myrick Road on Jan. 11.

the apple tree waits.
its bare, twisted limbs reach up
to the trusted sun,

thrusting inward, to
the core
of its own
sweet
fruit.

(24 Feb. 2014)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Origami Master

"Perfect openness born of complete self-surrender, brings us into uninhibited contact with God." Thomas Merton

My soul's a sheet
of flat paper,
unfolded and featureless 
until your hands press
and pinch, pleat
my stubborn fears
to your desire.

You know what fills
my nascent core
and never give me up
but with your strength
to fine edge crease
and make of me at last 
angel's wings.

(10/15/2012)

The Waiting

The fields are ready,
furrows made deep
for farmers’ prize seed.

Vineyards recede
into straight narrow lanes.
and twisted vines
in cruciform lines
conceal summer’s new wine.

They wait, well quenched
by winter’s rain.
Sweet tears
drench the ground with
baptismal springs,
and leafy green shade
will soon to spread
over orchard lanes.

We wait
as the moon, crescent mother
cradles her star-swollen belly,
and amorous crickets leap into the night
to sing her a waiting lullaby.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

El Nino

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, 1890 

fill your heart
with rush of rain,

open your palms
to receive

new life
for your heart
of winter!

oh, see how
the birds
fiercely sing
my love!

(5 January 2016)

   

Monday, February 20, 2017

Flow

It flows
over highways
dripping down
lamp-posts
through gutters,
pounding
storm drains,
filling
narrow lanes,
past dark houses,
past high-tension
wires, driving
through
constraining fence,
unfettered
it fills
the green hills
and rolls
through folding slough, past
low bridge and causeway,
ever lower
down to Suisun Bay,
unstoppable
like a swimmer’s blood
pulsing through throbbing vein,
reaching for Gate of Gold
to break free,
to become
one with
One.

(19 April 2011)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Delta Rain


Soft rain
on dark oaks

Clustered green 
curving canyons rise
to velvet crease.

Thick mists consume
stoic cattle, 
slowly climbing
verdant slopes.

Meadows gather 
new-born lakes.

Delta birds -
grebe and pensive loon,
goldeneye and pintail,
ibis and snowy egret 
slowly wade.

With flashing beak
they break
black waters.

(29 Apr. 2013)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

In the Territory of the Gerasenes

 ArtWay.eu
Image: Solomon Raj


From deep inside
I heard them,
howling hatred
lashing me with my own hands
gashing the rocky tombs
with my own bloody feet.

Late at night
they cursed and fought
deep inside
my aching skull.

I was their prisoner,
and they were many…

But then I saw Him by the lake
and my soul leapt
even as Legion arose
as with my ragged voice they raged,
“what will you do to us?” 

but my soul cried louder,
“Save me!” 

Hearing us both,
He drove the dark spirits
from my unclean breast
and into the beasts….poor swine.
Madness cast them
into death’s deep pit….

but I could hear only
silence.

Peace
filled me.

My hand moved
only when I commanded,
and what my eyes saw
I clearly viewed.

The people of the village
fearing a man who could
compel demons,
begged Him to leave.

Blind fools!
If only they could see Him
as I do.

As he was going, I begged to go too
and stay forever in the light
of his face.

But this grace
was not
for me alone…

He told me to go
and proclaim without fear
how His love saved me
from my soul’s dark night,
and led me here,
into paradise.

(18 Feb 2013)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Binary




A young child falls
and, laughing, rises to
his mother’s arms.


Rivers of youth
cut canyons
from ancient
bones.

(16 Nov. 2011; Rev 2/15/2017)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Beautiful Cellars


‘No clock: only the Heart’s blood. Only the word.”


“I think poetry must,

I think it must,

Stay open all night

In beautiful cellars”    Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours
          ***


High round windows
over wide glass doors
fill with night;

The world’s gone to black,
to void,
to nothing.

Can you hear your whispering blood?
- surge of surf, wind in dark trees
alive - alive -

so arise now and go
down the noisy steps
to the beautiful cellar,

to the poetry.

(18 March 2013)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Pax Modern

Away from fading windows
sealed deep within the efficient building
empty chairs wait.
Gleaming floors echo
friends laughing
hello and
goodbye,

but here I sit
alone.  

The sun set without me tonight.

Through long corridors I watched
as slit windows softly glowed
with withered passion.

Night rises suddenly!

Night is a fast clock,
firing rounds of morning, tomorrow, next week,
next year
into my defenseless heart!

Night is a rude guest,
an expected surprise.

But where is God?

In this comfortable cave
sterile bright altars serve
quick
convenient offerings.

No squalor of crucifixion here!

These are painless rooms,
climate controlled,
self-satisfied.

My soul dozes.

From troubling dreams
of resurrection
beige walls lull me
to dubious peace.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

While you were asleep...



The sun has not cleared
my neighbor’s house yet.


His high trees glow
golden-green, nodding slightly
in the morning breeze,


but he is not about,
probably sleeps
deep in still rooms
curtained and shuttered,
easily breaths
unaware


of the deep chorus
swelling in the brightening sky,
mourning dove and
mocking-bird, jay and sparrow
and clicking hummingbird
singing into being
the new day;


but I see
and I hear.


I’ll tell him
what he missed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

On Viewing Inferno of the Innocents



Poised on the edge of the bed
she sits in sharp light,
pointed feet barely touching
the dim floor.

Through fear-filled, furrowed brow
she stares at the encroaching shadow.

I want to protect her, reach into the canvas
and take her home,
adopt her
make her my grand-daughter
hold her safe and warm
make her whole
watch her dance
fearless
in the golden morning.

As I despair
another little girl approaches the painting,
and broadly smiles in recognition,
nodding to this new-found playmate.

She knows how morning light
always pushes back
the black night.

(24 April 2013)

Author notes

to see the powerful, heartbreaking works of Gottfried Helnwein, visit his website athttp://www.helnwein.com/

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Obscure Sense of the Presence of God

Walking down a street, sweeping a floor, washing dishes, hoeing beans, reading a book, taking a stroll in the woods-all can be enriched with contemplation and with the obscure sense of the presence of God.    Thomas Merton. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation.


I see how the evening sun lights
the high grass, trees shift in the gentle wind
and small brown birds flit between
outdoor tables as young women
reach for coffee cups
drop sweet crumbs to the rough sidewalk,
to the birds.  Intent on home-work,
office-work, they never look up
to see how the sky
deepens to darker hue;
how day will fade soon
and vermillion night set fire
to the seaward hills.

The west wind will finally drive them in,
and the grateful birds will all fly away.

I see how Your love lurks even in the weeds
that grow on the edge of the most
tended garden; hides in the cries of
the grieving mourning dove;
falls like rain in the tender,
moonless night.


(30 July 2013)

Hamza al-Khatib (We must not forget why there's war in Syria)















Hamza al-Khatib,
smiled sweetly.

Was he thinking of school
and soccer, or friends
waiting to play
when they caught him,


roughly hauled him into their white van
took him to their station, and demanded
confession
from his glistening tears,
from his tender face flushed
with confusion and fear?

They would make of him
an example
of what happens to those
who pursue happiness
in Assad’s Syria.

But you, weeping parents,
you-tube us your tortured child’s
distorted face, gaping chest
torn arms,  dishonored genitals.

Show us how
Assad destroys your future.

O parents of Syria, rise up
and send Assad 
to cower before heaven’s gate

as Allah
gently cradles
your slaughtered
children.

(7 June 2011)
  

(Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Hamza_Ali_Al-Khateeb)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Poetry Lesson


I’ll turn off the classroom lights
and open the windows wide
so you can see.

Look deeply

as the sun shatters
our rainy world
into rainbows.

Feel how cold wind,
flooding through open doors,
drops to the darkened floor
your poems,

like seeds
piercing fertile soil -

can you hear it?
the steady whisper
of God?

(26 March 2011)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

It Happens

 

I can see it coming,
small in the distance
just a spot at first,

but I know
it's coming for me
sure-air, clear
cross-hairs
frame my soul,
zero-in
on my languid pen

til, joyfully I bolt
for the house, tear
through dark rooms,
turn on my dim light,
and breathlessly wait
for the poem
to strike.




Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mercy and Love


In order to know and love God as He is, we must have God dwelling in us in a new way, not only in His creative power but in His mercy.  Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation.

Nothing I could do
would ever be enough
to make the dead-wood
live.  Though the wind
and rain sever bright leaves,
tender blossoms from
the cherry tree, and the
birds themselves fly
from my anger,

I know
I could never
make it right,

though with tears I flood,
nourish them with a
broken heart’s blood

I am powerless.

Yet still these bruised stems,
thicken and split
to bud, spill green life,
fill the earth
with mercy
and love.

(8 April 2012)