Sunday, September 29, 2013


"Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alteration of sound and silence there would be no rhythm."
Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

The grave is empty.

Darkness, half lit by the blurred moon,
Chilled by the sea, the fog waiting,
The enthralled stars, nearly lost,
Searching for another earth,
The dark soil waiting for the seed.


The memory of a fireplace,
Warmth with music
Undulating arias
Like small birds falling into darkness.

Cold rain

Driving against my window.
Muffled music and dreams of water,
And another grave.

Rocky Shore

The new man lives in a world that is always being created and renewed.  
He lives in this realm of renewal and creation.  He lives in life.   
Thomas Merton

ancient lake
spirit of
waves recede
and the bones of fish

to summer 

day follows day;
sharp edges

to anger,
to blue

until arise
souls, smooth
and wise.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


"Sooner or later . . . we have to risk everything in order to gain everything. We have to gamble on the invisible and risk all that we can see and taste and feel.” Thomas Merton

Soft autumn breezes,
hills: brown, blue, violet - black
moving to nothing.

risk it all, keep no-
thing in your hand; grasp thin air
and take everything.

taste your fears, salt-tears
sting your eyes; glare like the sun-
set on the last day.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The People of the West Wind

Suisunes once lived
beneath the Twin Sisters.

Ascending beyond the vineyards and twisted oaks,
they still drift through morning mist,
and walk the sacred paths
of their fathers.

Guardian oaks still embrace the People.
Meandering branches lean low,
give clambering children
an easy climb
high to where acorns
fall in the western wind
to feed
their hungry

The Suisunes people, called The People of the West Wind, lived for over 10,000 years in the area where I now live... but they nearly died out within a generation of exposure to European missionaries seeking to save their souls. They would have eluded the attention of the Spanish longer had they not given refuge to escaped mission Indians.  In 1810 several dozen of these gentle people committed  suicide rather than submit to the Spanish.
If you listen carefully in the morning breeze you can still hear their laughter.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Destruction in Homs, Syria 2012

“While I am asking questions which You do not answer, You ask me a question which is so simple that I cannot answer. I do not even understand the question.”  Thomas Merton
“In distress you called and I rescued you; I answered you in secret with thunder.” Psalm 81: 8

City in rubble,
walls exposed,
shattered windows,
rudely ripping
the dead
for any good reason
to live.

They ask
which you do not

I want to understand
your master-plan

but you speak
in secret
in whispers of

Victims of Bashar al Assad in Homs, 2012

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spider Web

The spider web drifts,
abandoned, useless,
high in the window 
bright in the setting sun,
close to a world in motion.

Not immersed in the savage flow,
it is protected from wild birds 
that caw in the swaying tree
peering down
at creatures bound to solid, 
unmoving ground.

Their motion 
is sacred motion,

but the web just aimlessly stirs
in an inner breeze 

always on the edge 
of the living sea

held fast by stasis 
of gravity.