Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Photo: Brian Federle, Pacifica Sunset, 

The Lord travels in all directions.
The Lord arrives from all directions at once.
 Wherever we are, we find that He has just departed.
Wherever we go, we discover that He has just arrived before us.

Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island

 I try to catch you, 

facing forward to see
your heels flashing fire
in the shimmering red sea.

I gaze into night, 
desiring sight
of your dancing eyes.

I whisper, I sigh,
but you elude, 

ahead always, 
always behind.

(June 2014 ; May 2017)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Movement of the Soul

"All the passions can be reduced to four: joy, hope, fear, and grief. 
These four are so closely connected that, when one is controlled, 
the others all obey.  Consequently they can be reduced to one: joy.  
And desire is the movement of the soul seeking joy."  
Thomas Merton, The Ascent to Truth

is knowing
that the dark cloud
bearing down
on thrashing trees,
sending calling birds
to awkwardly flee,
holds both
and death,
but not knowing
which it will be.

can lead to grief
when tumors increase.
Blood grows
until, together
at last, we stand
and wonder

This is the line that splits heaven from hell.

We comb his hair
and shave his face,
carefully fold a rosary
into his cold hands,
and wonder that
his chest is
so still.

But his eyes are safely
sealed against the
terror of the grave,
so we lay him to rest
and slowly go
our separate ways

those cold March days
when we stood, our
backs to the rising sun?

Too bright
to see, the sun
strokes us
with a lover's warmth,
and rekindles in us
life's desire.

Thus will it always be.

Death can never win
though his illusion is strong.
The mortal body succumbs
but the soul ascends,
like birds, joyfully rising
to the morning sun.

(2013, 2017)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Rockville Cemetery

Among broken stones
folded over soft grass
we linger.

See how the fallen pillar
on the graven rock?

they’ll search
for us, too.

In this garden,
all calamity,

beneath sunny lawns,
in a deeper shade
we’ll fill our own space
and in peace
with you
we’ll wait.

(2012,  2017)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Shadows 12-29-16.jpg
Photo: Brian Federle, Shadows in the Desert, Dec. 2016

Your shadow in the desert
by the winter sun cast.

Searing pain
as I gaze
on  dark


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fire Falling

sunset 2016-01-02 .jpg

Photo: Brian Federle, Sunset, 1/2/2016

Fire falling
to golden waves
consume the world
with your love.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Aubade: Mourning-dove

Dawn fires
the cold roses
when, with
planetary urge,
all explode to

Then the cherry tree,
plain in
drab leaf,
erupts into

and high
from the bright rooftop
the mourning-dove
his low, plaintive
song of 

(15 June 2014)

Friday, May 5, 2017


Cliffside, Photo by Brian Federle, Oct. 2014

Down the trail
to where the gravel ends,
beneath the indifferent gaze
of giants, engulfed in emerald shade,
swiftly drops the forest
to the singing

Monday, May 1, 2017


"God, we have no idea where we are going. We do not 
see the road ahead of us. We cannot know for certain 

where it will end. Nor do we really know ourselves, 

and the fact that we think we are following your will 

does not mean that we are actually doing so.  

But we believe that the desire to please you does in fact

please you."  Thomas Merton


As I walk through winter's mist
I cannot see ahead or even know 
if the jaded sun will break through 
and guide me back home to you.

But I must not wait for certain light; 
I must go on through my dark fears,
bitter tears, failing sight,

for your gentle, wordless song 
nudges me always forward, urges me 
ever on.

(2 Nov. 2013)