Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fountain of Fire

“Just as it is impossible for a man to see his face in troubled water, so too the soul, unless it be cleansed of alien thoughts.” Thomas Merton

Closing in
the ancient wind sweeps
still waters, turns clarity
to confusion, joy
to primal fear.

I seek my face
but see only a blush
on the river’s edge,
red betrayal seeping
from deep within,
from a wound unseen.

Cleanse me, O Fountain of Fire, 

still my fears
and again I’ll see
my face
washed clean
by grateful tears!

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Photo: Brian Federle, San Francisco Homeless, 2014.

my secret door
deep in the dark
I face you.

We are

I have no place
to hide.

I don’t want
from your steady

You see right through
my petty lies--
into the truth of
my shivering

You know me
and yet

you love me!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

On the Razor's Edge

Photo: Brian Federle

“Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love.”

Gazing into bright desert space
we see endless highways, distant
mountains we never reach,
sharp hills, steep cliffs
as we move closer,

to the pacing sun,
creasing dark canyons,
casting amber light
into the gauzy sky —  

yet our dark dreams trouble
the faint stars; the reeling planets
throw wide nets over
our haunted, lost souls

when, morning at last,
we begin again,
pursuing the tumbling edge
of this turning globe

believing that
it will never end, will never
will never

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Intricate Psalms

Photo: Brian Federle, Sun in Clouds, Hawaii 2016

Clearing the tallest
eve of the big house,
the sun overwhelms.

Then the mockingbird chants
intricate psalms

All praise to the
lord of the sky

and with glory
fill the land!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Warm Morning

Morning hush —

Heat builds,
leaves glitter.

Into pure silver
dissolves the shade.

Birds call
winging it
to higher, darker places,
any eve
where tattered night
may hide,

seeking retreat
from day's clear,
searing eye.

(9/2011 - 5/2018)

Thursday, May 24, 2018


“When the sun rises each one of us is summoned
by the living and the dead to praise God.”
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.

In the morning
you sent clouds towering
and drove fine ice
into the tender

(its red petals scattered, 
a holocaust 
on pure white ground)

and took my breath away!

Father, I seek you
like death, 

clean and clear
in the ringing air.

Green and golden, 
long shadows flow east
and birdsong fills 
your nodding trees.

In the gentle rhythm
of the swaying wind
there I hear 

your song again.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Aubade: Vale of Tears

Photo Brian Federle, Sun in Trees, Russian River. April 2016

Morning fog
my winter tears

as unseen geese
(noisy gaggle)
crossed the opaque sky.

Things well hidden
my fragile faith,

so when bright, piercing rays
broke through
this lonely vale of tears

I thought it was only the sun
not the golden light,
desire of my fleeting years.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


When you left us
I saw how the clouds parted,
rent curtains,
as you cleared earth’s
drossy smear,
and passed into a heaven
bright beyond
our wildest imagining.

Bereft, fearful, we
shut tight the door
against wolves’ howling
and waited for you
to keep your promise.

At first it was a whisper,
the sea-ward wind
prying loose our
weak walls,

but soon the song rose, until
its power overwhelmed us
with chords of faith,
and, afire at last,

we spoke!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Simplicity of being

Photo: Brian Federle, Lanterns, 2014.

" is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.” 
Thomas Merton

The moon fades, 
clouds enshroud stars
pale trees glare 
ensnared by winter winds 
blanching at death's edge,  

and yet you whisper 
gently in the rain, 
promise me gifts 
of disease and pain
to strip me clean
and pure again.  

O, make me
your sacrament!

pure essence,
of eternal gain.

(11 Sept. 2011: rev. 5-17-2018)

Friday, May 11, 2018


Фото Брайан Федерл: Утро, штат Вашингтон, август 2014 г.

глубоко в моем центре

он резонирует
мягко, это
мне в ухо.

ее любовник,
как густой туман
прибрежные склоны.

но эта сырая песня
тревожный гонг,
бедных подражания,

все объяснение.

это просто



deep in my center
lies the 

it resonates 
softly, it 
in my ear.

its lover, 
the word 
like thick mist 
coastal slopes.

but this crude song is 
a metaphor, 
an anxious gong, 
a poor imitation, 
a mockingbird.

the word 
all explanation.

it just simply 


Photo Brian Federle: Morning, Washington State, Aug. 2014

deep in my center
lies the

it resonates
softly, it
in my ear.

its lover,
the word
like thick mist
coastal slopes.

but this crude song is
a metaphor,
an anxious gong,
a poor imitation,
a mockingbird.

the word
all explanation.

it just simply

(3 Sept. 2010)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Ground of Life

“He who is alone and is conscious of what his solitude means, finds himself simply in the ground of life.”   Thomas Merton.

I am alone, listening,
to every sound.

The breeze
whispers poems,

the plaintive dove
softly moans

in that small place
above our front-porch,

and tells me that love
is certain.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Golden Day, Emerald Summer

Mt Hood National Forest, 2014, Brian Federle

Golden day, emerald summer,
buds erupting
to green clusters
of sweet fruit –

so sit with me awhile
in the morning shade
as the sun slides
imperceptibly toward night

and see how small birds alight
on St. Francis as he blesses
all God’s green world with

life rioting, wind-
blown seeds,
weeds wedging into small,
narrow spaces between
slender blades
of tender spring grass;

and though
I cannot see you,
know that I love you
as I know
you love me.

So together
we’ll listen
as the morning
breeze sings
of life never-


Sunday, April 29, 2018

"All I Ask of You is forever to remember me as loving you"

 Photo by Brian Federle: Passages

I heard this song in mass this morning; it struck me by its simple beauty and the comfort it brought me.  I've learned that it comes from the Sufi tradition of Islam, the mystical part of the great Muslim faith.

The chorus of the song, in Arabic, is Ishq' Allah, Ma abud L'íllah , which means, "All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you."

From its original provenance as a Sufi song, the poem has become a contemporary song often played at Christian funerals. It is called "All I ask." The Benedictine monks of Weston Priory in Vermont produce lovely cards with this tender wish.

To see it performed click on this link:

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Deep the joy of being together in one heart
and for me that's just where it is.

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

As we make our way through all the joys and pain,
Can we sense our younger, truer selves?

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Someone will be calling you to be there for a while.
Can you hear the cry from deep within?

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Laughter, joy and presence: the only gifts you are.
Have you time? I'd like to be with you.

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Persons come into the fiber of our lives,
and then their shadow fades and disappears.

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Ishq'Allah, ma abud L'illah, Ishq'Allah, ma abud L'illah.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.