Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pure Hope





“We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, nor rests in any visible ends. “ Thomas Merton


Close the the gun’s edge
life is sharply
defined.

Clarity is achieved
when you have nothing left
but hope.

That’s when you realize
that your life stands
without any visible
means of
support;

like  a high-
wire walker,
you are
pure.

That’s why
you have the freedom
to stand between
the red rage

and the children.



(14 Dec 2013)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Abscissa of the Soul


Photo by Brian Federle: Seagull, New Brighton Beach, 2009.

“Once we enter again into contact with our own deepest self, with an ordinate self-love that is inseparable from the love of God and of His truth, we discover that all good develops from within us, growing up from the hidden depths of our being according to the concrete and existential norms laid down by the Spirit Who is given us from God. “
Thomas Merton, The New Man  

Go beyond 
the surface 
of things, 
deeper 
than thin soil 
fecund 
in the rain, 
but dried to dust
by the summer wind.

Dive head first 
into the darkness;
have faith 
that someone
will catch you, 
that you will
splash into 
a warm sea, 
that a strong hand 
will reach out
and save 
your life.

If you wait 
for proof
you will find only
a solid stone 
at your core.

Death 
is like that... 
facts dash 
your brains, 
bring you 
to the edge
of nothing.

But faith 
will lift you 
beyond 
your limitations, 
will bear you up 
on golden wings,
make of you 
the Royal Ordinate 
of time and space
and you will dance 
to the music 
of the spheres,
as without fear
you reach out 
to your Beloved,  
the Abscissa 
of the soul.

**********************************

Author’s Note: In mathematics, ordinate refers to that element of an ordered pair which is plotted on the vertical axis of a two-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, as opposed to the abscissa.  on a graph, the "x" coordinate rises or falls on the vertical line, but never moves forward. Alone, it is doomed to fail, to fall to its eventual death because things that do not move forward always die. But with its abscissa, it has forward movement... purpose... life... and can continue to soar into the ether. I am not good at math but quite good at seeing things.

(25 June 2012)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sunrise

Photo: Sunrise Orcas Island, 2014.  Brian Federle


"Sunrise is an event that calls forth solemn music in the very depths of man's nature, as if one's whole being has to attune itself to the cosmos and praise God for the new day, praise Him in the name of all the creatures that ever were or ever will be."  Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander



Oh call me softly
in the morning!

With winter's sun
paint golden
the pale trees.

In deep waters,
in cool ponds brush my 
legs, caress
my tender feet.

Your breath flies
through the green 
canyons.

With tongues
of flame
oh, ravish me!

(11 March 2013)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

He Does Not Need Your Sacrifice


"He does not need our sacrifices, 
He asks for our selves."  
Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

Your sacrifice is like
the breath
of the sparrow
in the roiling storm.

It is not needed
but pleasing in its
simplicity. 

When you peel away
your small, feathered
soul, when
you stretch your thin
lungs to sing
your hymn of self-
immolation,

remember that
it is not necessary,
no, not at all, 

but still pleasing is
the purity of
your song.

(25 Feb 2012)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Baptism




I walked down from Nazareth with the crowd, 
nudged on by their excited chatter
and rumors of a crazy man by the river
shouting God at sinners,
thrusting them into the Jordan
like so much dirty laundry
to be rinsed clean and pure.

These are my people, 
hungry people
seeking new wine and
new bread, lepers
yearning to be cured,

But deep within me
silence grows,
and somehow I know 
that I am closer to Home,
though so far away 
from my father's workshop
and my mother's kitchen.

When John sees me
he takes my hands and gently 
pushes my face into the stream
befouled with the sins 
of the people...

I cannot see.

I struggle 
to rise and breathe,
from this watery death 
I want to be free,
and as I break through
I see His fire, I hear
His voice like a flash of wings
falling down on me,
calling me His Beloved Son,
telling the stunned crowd
to listen to everything
I will say.

In silence, 
I hurry away; 
into the empty desert 
I stray.


(7 Jan 2012)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Faith


Photo Brian Federle: Overcast in Oregon, 2008

Faith
is seeing my blood
coursing through
shut eyelids

and feeling
blood pushing down
into my arms and legs,

believing
it will soon return
to my darkly
beating heart.

But faith is more than
seeing
or believing.

Faith shines
like the cloistered sun
concealed by thick
autumn clouds.

Faith knows
all my childish lies,
and gently laughs
at my innocence.

Faith stalks me,
deep into my desert
where, trembling,
I wait for her famished arrow.

I love faith;
in her passionate embrace
I fall into my
darkest night.

I fear faith;
slave to her lacerating truth
reluctantly I walk
into her relentless light.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bridge at Montezuma Slough


We drive to see
where the twisted road will lead.

Salty river, winding slough,
dark water
rising to frothy cap
slapping concrete pier,


moon driven waves race
back to beckoning bay.

Finally we must decide...

cross the low bridge
or turn back,


but the flood is so close to the deck!



We feel tidal vibration,
basso profondo,
rattling sub-sonic
in our ears
as together
we face our fear,

and slowly cross,
eyes always ahead
til again we feel sure earth
solid beneath our tread.



(2013  - 2018)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Starling Flight: Murmurations



Starlings whorl, 
gyre curls
rise, turn, drop
to airy knot
rippling mist, round
folds, cloud 
undulant

when, without warning,
they light and draw a tight
line of night 
on thin wires.