Thursday, October 29, 2015

Voice of the Stranger

God speaks, and God is to be heard, not only on Sinai, not only in my own heart, but in the voice of the stranger. Thomas Merton

Holy night,
human speech ceasing,
leaves whispering, praising
marsh-reeds swaying
in the gusty breath of God.

Throughout the hot day, lusting
tongues lashed; verbs clashed
through the busy lanes. Fear filled us
as we sought the hidden path.

Just listen
to the night-
song of dark meadows;
spring-swollen showers,
tears of passion,
engorge the sterile land.

Oh, hear the stranger sing
through these dry, city streets,
tell tales of strange
and ponderous deeds,

songs of frogs
who, once loved,
became kings!

(6 Feb. 2014)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

After the Massacre

“The real point of the contemplative life has always been a deepening of faith so that our union with God is experienced.” Thomas Merton

Close to the ground
there is darkness.

Deep shadows 
fill the spaces,
trunk to trunk.

They cling, 
spread wide roots, 
hold on, 
the savage pull 
of night

while high geese
shout praise 
light lifting
strong wings.

Trees nod, 
and raise high branches
to faithful God, 

positive flame
making bright 
hidden day.

(12 Dec 2012)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Air Show

Cloudless thunder                                                  
splits the sky
as white planes rise
on red fire.

to apogee,
they rocket
then fall
back to ground-

to soar again in glory
as the cheering crowd
shrieks for more!

From my backyard,
I see small birds reel,
made awkward  with fear
when the fighter steeply banks
just past my line
of defiant trees. 

The afterburner’s thrust
can both exhilarate
and annihilate.

Proud simians,

faster than eagles
dropping like

we are perfect
raptors -

we are masters
of gravity.

(3 May 2014)

Monday, October 12, 2015


Locked inside
where only I can be
lonely cries echo,
deafening me.

I peer through sockets
through skull
and soft flesh,
blood coursing
nerves enmesh

electric thoughts rocketing
through bone-strapped brain,
lightning revealing
God's face once again.

With muttering thunder,
the sad world declines
back into empty
personal night.

(22 May 2012)

Thursday, October 8, 2015


rushing, wildly running
through narrowing gorge,
plunging ever away
from what it was –

calm pond
silent spring slipping
time’s bond --

descending cliffs
flowing, always flowing
gathering all the waters of the west

to become the Colorodo –

carver of canyons,
life giver, death dealer
river of earth.

(8 October 2015)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Inward Man

Day after day the outward man crumbles and breaks down, and the inward man is born and grows in wisdom and knowledge. Thomas Merton
swaying, slave
to the storm, I wait 
for the gale 
to drive me down, 
dismember me
scatter my shattered limbs 
across winter’s ground,
while deep inside
my cambrian core
life persists! 
I’ll survive. 
Beyond my limit
I will arise!

(28 March 2012)

St. Sebastian

Slender arrows,
pierce me through.

I wanted to forgive, 
but too quickly 
they flew.

My mind fades.
I rise to You. 


Image: St. Sebastian, Andrea Mantegna 1456-59, Kunsthistorisches Museum 
(viewed at the De Young Museum, San Francisco)