Monday, November 27, 2017

The Light in November

Photo: Brian Federle,  Oregon, 2012.


The light in November slants low.
It fills my eyes as I glance
askance through amber trees
and see the leaves descend in
gold flashes
past my open window.

The autumn sun skirts
my low Suisun hills
casting deep shadows
along the ebbing marsh

where wading egrets probe
still, black waters

and finding their prize
rise to blue heaven,
white, slender wings
elegantly beating
the softly falling sun.

(2012-2017)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Leap of Faith



You decided
that you want me,
and so commanded
flashing angels
to invade my night.
With blind bliss 
to contend,
and weary with seraphic strife
I gave in:

(a pious moment
here and there,
a sign of the cross,
a whispered prayer),

until, patient Father,
in bright dreams you called
and led me high 
up your holy mountain
promising
that I will rise
and never,
never fall.


(24 Dec. 2011)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

"The Gift" by Mary Oliver


Thanksgiving

Full from the feast
table laded
with fragrant dressing,
steam of onion and celery,
tender turkey and
five kinds of pies

The family gathered.
My parents smiled
at our busy banter
brothers
and sisters nudging and
teasing,  beaming
in the glow
of that happy day
so long ago.

Now you and I gather
our sons around us;
again we pause, pray
and eat the bounty
of this bright Thanksgiving Day.

They say that some things,

kind hearts,
hearty laughs,
enduring love

are so good
they persist long down  
the thankful
generations.

-----------
(for Brian we are so thankful)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Paradise

Passage: Sunset. Photo by Brian Federle, 2016

Paradise

Deep inside
I carry paradise,

A bright flood,
pours through
my soul’s veins,

but like those blind fish,
I cannot see
the holy river
running through me.

On a good, clear day, though,
staring hard beyond,
I can almost see
God’s holy fire
glancing off
my boundless sea.

(3/30/17)

Consoling Mary


Freely flow her tears;
a dam so brimful
cannot contain
such towering waves.

Wondering that
my words fail
to give peace,
I reach out
and take her trembling hands.


Tearful,
I brush away
all her
bitter tears.



(13 April 2011)

Monday, November 20, 2017

In Contemplation of Seeking

….contemplation is simply the “experience” …. of God in a luminous darkness which is the perfection of faith illuminating our inmost self….. a flash of the lightning of divinity piercing the darkness of nothingness and sin. Not something general and abstract, but something, on the contrary, as concrete, particular, and “existential” as it can possibly be. It is the confrontation of man with his God…    Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation
+
In my darkness I seek you
through deep caverns I run;
my dying flesh yearns for
your fierce, piercing love.

Through darkness I see
you’re glowing so bright,
but always receding,
deeper than night.

I fear that I’ll falter,
betrayed by frail will
when softly you whisper

“my child, just be still.”

(3 Dec. 2013)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Memorial

Summer

He worked nights, leaving as we climbed
the tall narrow staircase to our shared room,
up into the summer heat, the steel fan
in the hallway window
pulling cool, leafy breezes
from our waving trees.

We heard the kitchen screen-door
slap shut, the Pontiac roaring to life,
and watched as slowly he backed down
the dark driveway, and was gone.

And gladly we glided through our misty dreams,
flying over tree-tops, baseball games
and cool swimming pools,

when finally the robin’s enthusiasm
and the fresh morning sun
flashing through green leaves
woke us as we heard the car stop
and Dad call cheerfully, “I’m home!”

The air already scented with bacon and coffee,
we flew down the groaning stairs,
two steps at a bound,
and eagerly started another golden
summer’s day.


Winter

One winter day I did something wrong, and
he got angry and drew his worn leather belt
from the loops of his grey, stained work trousers
To teach me a lesson.

Terrified, I ran upstairs to the big closet
and trembled behind coats and sweaters,
as heavily he came up the steps,
righteous anger ringing in his voice,
tears flowing down my cheeks;

when my big brother, teenage and strong,
called defiance to him and drew him down
into the back yard to fight him
and save me, angered by his
memory of so many other beatings,
determined to stop it now!


But facing his own father
he could not fight back, and
weeping, I watched my dad
pummel my brother’s defenseless face,
far worse than any beating
I would have gotten.

From kitchen window,
I screamed to them both
to stop!

That was when my father saw,
in the kitchen window’s glare
his own father’s angry eyes,
and felt his father’s fists
landing hard on his own face,
and he stopped and
embraced my brother.

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.


(30 Jan 2011/ 2017)

Photo: Steven Federle holding Brian Federle, March 1986

Friday, November 10, 2017

November Sky

See the perfect sky of November
cloudless, cool, southern sun,
garden of blue eternity


vaulting over rioting trees, leaves
shouting that life is good
as they fall, and with red cover
the green world


with perfect red
as in perfect blue
life turns inward,


like the planet,
pursuing


the fleeting sun’s
fading hue.

(2013 - rev. 2017)