Saturday, March 31, 2018

Peter's Report


The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulcher
 on the Morning of the Resurrection by Eugène Burnand

Running all the way,
bent double in breathless pain
we peered and saw
the gaping grave
open to the rising sun.

Slowly we entered, our eyes sun-blind,
when we saw the empty bench,
the bloody cloth cast within.

I try to imagine
the piercing flash,
the sudden shudder
of His broken body,
His sharp breath exploding
like a swimmer breaking the surface,

when I saw John’s eyes
outshining the sun,
and my own face
lighting even death's
darkest place!

(24 April 2011, 31 March 2018)

The Sadness of Holy Saturday


Through the moonless night
clouds choke receding light

and the world descends
into darkness.

Where are you
as winter's chill pierces my hands? 

Oh, where have you gone? 

Do you not care that I decay
without your gentle breath,
that without your light 
I wane like the failing sun?

Why have you abandoned me?

Through my tears I see 
two millennia of agony, 
the six million slain,
all the fallen generations
newly free, heavy nails 
at last released. 



(for James Foley, Journalist, first American murdered

by ISIS on 8/19/2014)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Passion in the Garden

In the long, empty night
I hear your song.

Longing I seek
but can only see
my own dying face
in shattered glass
and piercing steel.

I tremble in fear.
O, where have you gone?

Sing me again your soaring love-song

and show me the way,
for night’s a thin wall
and death, a porous veil.


(17 Apr. 2014)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Denial of St. Peter


Caravaggio, The Denial of St. Peter

On the edge
hands clenched, 
sad eyes downcast
bitter fear forcing tight his lips
he holds his breath

he pauses
as the angry finger
of the state
points at his throat,
hard eyes searching Peter’s
indecision
for rash conviction;

but she, she knows
has seen before
his adoring eyes, heard his 
boastful voice
by the campfire
of the condemned.

Slowly he moves
toward the inevitable lie
as the bloody sun
stirs to song
the drowsy cock.

(7 June 2012)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

To My Wife in Mourning



bright day,still birds, black
spots on the blue sky, slightly
sway in trees, and wait

for winter to stay
or summer at last to come
like we’re waiting for

the pain to stop, death
to give way to the winter
sun’s soft, warm embrace.


(for our son, Brian, 3/4/1986 - 3/25/2017)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Kentucky


Image: Fancy Farm, Kentucky

Summer steam
washes us clean
like a warm bath

as we wade through young fields, 
new corn waist high 
to where blue sky 
meets the rustling green sea.

We navigate by dead-
reckoning to the red barn. 

Wary of snakes, 
with flailing stick you flush 
out the tall, quick hares.

Feathers flashing, quail
burst heavenward at 
our clumsy approach, 

but in the dark barn 
we find 
forgiveness.

God's own light streams down 
into fragrant stalls
as wise eyes
regard us.

We reach out to touch.

They nod, 
first in warning,
then with bright approval.

(6 Feb 2012)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Suisun Spring

Photo: Brian Federle, "Camping" 3-25-2008


the green glow
of our cottonwoods
newly clothed in the gentle April sun ....

our apple tree,
still skeletal,
intimating cotton buds
promising green glory to come,

and the grass!
all winter-yellow evaporated,
shouting like a
third-grade leprechaun
skipping across the playground
in the school's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

but most unforeseen,
along the rough fence
the vinca
blazing with royal light
in the deep, verdant shade
of our cottonwoods.

(12 April 2010)


Sunday, March 4, 2018

from "Memorial"


Brian Federle, born March 4, 1986

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 calmly 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.