Wednesday, December 27, 2017

On the Feast of St. Stephen

The Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Peter Paul Rubens 1616-1617


"The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his striving – by which man becomes one with God." (Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain)



See how wind tears, how
clouds ravage the sky
to shreds…

Can you hear the geese fleeing,
shouting dread
as the savage storm crouches?

Are you afraid?

I know
how the sea sometimes
launches boulders;

but the stubborn land
bows and waits
and, swollen, forgives

with torrents of life;
rivers of joy.

(2013-2017)

Monday, December 25, 2017

false comfort, treacherous joy

Photo Brian Federle: Candles 2014


Lights dancing
In evergreen branches

bright birds perched among
golden ornaments —

false comfort,
treacherous joy!

For this season of life
refreshes my tears,
renews my pain.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

to the center


Photo: Brian Federle, "Night", 2014


the
beat
steady;
constant hum,
music of days to
night fading; the right note, only
song you know; sum of your days, falling, falling to night.

so
go
to the
center, to
the black place to wait
for Him. Don’t call out in fear for
there’s nobody there but you and He, so silent be

and
hear
how His song
fills your darkness with
light; smile at Him, your familiar
bright friend, and no longer will you fear your emptiness.

(23 Dec 2013)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Winter Solstice

Image from The Sunrise Blogger



Driving down the arrow-straight road

I'm blinded by the sudden flash
in my rear-view mirror.

The burning disc,
orange flame
rises over low eastern hills,
I  look away
into the dim west,

to the moon,
setting cool and deep,
hovering low
over Jamison Canyon,
soft
in the blue morning.

It was smaller
when I saw it last night
hanging high
over my gleaming roof.

Then the moon owned the night
and drenched the grey lawns
with mystic light
transformed
our pale houses,
into windy mythic temples,
sheltering whispering shades.

Now the fierce sun claims
his wide, waiting world
as the supple moon
coolly descends;

But for a moment
across the brightening sky,
they gaze like lovers

from horizons in equilibrium,

in this perfect movement
of time.



(12/21/2010)

I, John


I, John, declare.
Listen!
Can you hear?
Open your eyes and see.

With outstretched hands reach and
proclaim to the world of endless strife
the Word of peace,
eternal Life!
*
ref: 1 John 1:1-4

(23 December 2011)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

New Wine into Fresh Skins!


Renew me, wash me
in deeper pools open my
righteous, narrow mind,

for your wine over-
whelms, rends ancient seams, blood streams,
my weakness reveals.

Make me a new man
and I'll hold your wine within
my fresh, new-made skin.

**********************
"...nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine into fresh skins!" Mark 2:22


(19 Oct. 2012)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Invitation

Come into my night;
the darkness is so cold
that sparrows flee
my winter trees,

so I have closed
my windows and my doors
to horde my little warmth.

Crickets will not sing delight
and stars no longer glimmer
in winter’s dreary night.

O come,
O come, Emmanuel!

I am captive and dull.
I cannot see the flashing stars
that lurk beyond the cloud.

O come into my small house
my meager fire share.

O come, and bring fierce angels
to cut away death’s empty snare!


(30 Jan 2011)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Camping at Lake Berryessa

My children sleep
on the thin vinyl floor
while above our tent,
just past the dark tree-line,
the Milky Way glimmers
like cool waves breaking
on the black coast
of the deep mountain sky.

All night
the lake whispers softly
under gentle western winds
as egret and owl
keep guardian eyes
on the sleeping
human shore.

While watching my sons sleep,
I hear the low murmur
of wild turkey and possum
scuffling through dry dust and leaves,
searching our campground for leftovers
peanut butter crusts, hot dogs and beans,
any careless, easy meal,

when I feel rolling pressure
pushing insistently at base of our tent,
and, alarmed, hear quick, powerful,
exploratory snorts.

Holding my breath,
I gaze into the deer’s
questioning,
fearless eyes,

and wonder
if we campers
are part of this
ancient community,

or welcomed,
honored guests,

or simply curious,
rude intruders.

(30 Jan. 2011)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Advent Wreath



The pale sun, gliding low,
refuses to rise into leaden
grey skies, so bleak night
inters our sinful souls.

Oh! break out the candles
and place them around!
See how their fires
consume the dark ground.

Bouquet of flame!
devour our sins,
and ignite winter’s night
in holy conflagration.

(12/1/2010)