Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sonnet for a Grey Morning

Another grey morning, much like the last
and for tomorrow, more fog’s the forecast.
When days seem the same, life always seems cold.
night flows to night, the sad world grows old.
As clouds wrap my soul in still,fatal pall
hearts must be silent, though bold blood calls
for death to cruel winter, and end to dark days,
fair spring to release enthralled golden rays.

But looking at you, I see in your eyes
the brilliance lost from blue summer's last sky
and when you smile, in your warm glow I feel
your love overwhelm me, new suns revealed.
Overcast, confined though the earth may be
with you in my day, spring’s born endlessly.

(31 Oct 2013)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Kingdom of Heaven

Cast your seed
upon my barren soil.
In winter’s dark night
I yearn for new light.

Rain falls;
fleeting life fails
as fearfully I pray:

O fill my fertile soul
and show me your sun-filled face!
Warm me with your
radiant grace.

(25 May 2012)

Monday, December 28, 2015

One Simple Motion

The house is dark again.

Music drifts,
softly settles,
like dust
on my face.

Now is the time
when veils decline-

when I can see
the faint motion
of breath,

my chest rising and
falling, life expelled
and pulled sharply back:

living and dying
in one, simple

(22 July 2014)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Morning Light

Look! The morning light, slight brightening
To the east, over the rooftop
Of the next house, through our
Open window, the sky
Not yet blue, but
Rising to the
Edge of

Listen! Those early birds, looking
For the unlucky worm,
Are singing their delight
In this lucky, limitless
Morning light.

(31 Oct 2013)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sunset on Christmas Eve

Light's nearly gone
bare trees flare gold

sun descends,
day turns cold.

Old world ends
in a brilliant flash

but from the east
hope springs at last

fresh from a child
drawing first breath,

as the tawdry cycle
of night and day,

the hopelessness
of fear and hate

new love overwhelms
as new day begins

with first holy breath
of this God-infant.

(24 December 2011)

Mozart Smiles

feverish movement
circle of light
in the darkened hall

oboe and flute
puff and strain
to maintain with
swaying violins, violas
and cellos pounding
out soul,
beating heart
of timpani

while lost in time,
arms waving
shoulders hunching,
hands slashing
the glittering air,

Mozart smiles.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice

Drive the narrow road
past cold
misty vineyards;

peer carefully
through pulsing wipers,
past jeweled beads
smeared to curving trails.

into the glaring eye
of traffic.

Swinging around
tight bends
cars pass you,
of driving

Hold tightly to your wheel!
Keep your lane.
Do not descend
into the flooded gutter;

for on the western edge
in darkly glowing cobalt
the declining sun,
leans towards longer southern days.

has begun,

the longest night
of the year.

(19 December 2010)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Life Itself

“Night Blossoms” by Sonja Bingen

“It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, 
fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder.”
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Dark rain penetrates
tender leaves swell, spirits spark
dormant roots

Like gods, stars
ascend; with wonder and grace
shines Your mighty face

(29 March 2012)


It is God’s love that warms me in the sun and God’s love that sends the cold rain.” Thomas Merton

Winds blow
off the delta,
stir to breathy song
flashing trees.

In soft sunlight
jeweled birds
hover low,
sip red nectar
from the slim cylinder
by my empty chair.

Beneath the breeze
leaves along the fence-line are still,
and on the glowing ground
potted geraniums wait
in blazing stasis.

I know sea-borne storms
soon will come,
and leaves will fall,
to die on the sodden
winter ground;

for this
is my birthright,
my  Father’s
great gift.

(13 Jan.2013)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Winter Night

Sliver of moon, 
thin crescent hovers 
breathless hills. 

From night’s broad loom, 

empty skies fill 
dark rooms 
with blackest silk. 

O guardian 

stars, drop on my face

(29 Jan 2013)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'll Wait

“Make ready for the face that speaks like lightning, uttering the new name of your exaltation deep in the vitals of your soul. Make ready for the Christ, Whose smile like lightning sets free the song of everlasting glory that now sleeps in your paper flesh, like dynamite.” Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours

for that
time when Your
silence fills the world
when even birds cannot conceive
cannot dream of dawn; then my sallow skin will burst to
flame, freedom’s song will utter my name, and I will rise to glory through death’s darkest vein!

(16 September 2013)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Elegy for Mary

though the sun rises
as usual.
binds together days
and keeps my gaze
firmly fixed on
here and now.

First coffee,
then showered and dressed
I start another commute
down wet roads,
through misty
grey hills;

but today I stop
and think of you
your gentle laugh, the joy
buried In a cold Ohio field

and my throat tightens.

I can’t breathe, my eyes blur
until deeply sighing
I whisper the prayer
you taught me

and again see
the living world
with unclouded eyes

and go on.

(1 Dec. 2012)

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Times of transition
appeal to my sense of

In joyful morning
eastern gold flows
over our highest leaves.

The blue-jays shriek
as our cat prowls
the wet grass.

She does not care
that this is the edge of time.

But I can feel the sun’s fire
as I work in the yard

and hear the mockingbird
in our highest eves
calling to his love
in the cherry tree!

Soon the wind
again will rise
and another summer day
will coldly decline

as the western fires
to bluest steel, to
blackest silk.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vallejo Nocturne

Bright Venus rising,
silver bay gleaming
tall Tamalpaias,
against the glowing
night sky,
a red smudge
where the hot sun
to bright city lights,
rays of glory,
the cosmos contained
in this throbbing web
like the stars themselves.

(14 May 2012)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Leaf from the Album "Dreaming of Traveling while in Bed (臥遊)"
ink and color on paper, 27.8 x 37.3 cm, Palace Museum, Beijing

On the high round table it stands;
small plant in a plastic pot
tender leaves
turn to the narrow window,
to meet the faithful morning sun.

We water it daily,
carry it carefully
to the deep sink for a good, long drink
and then back to its own bright place
estranged from the wilder yard by double-pane.

Sudden as September,
it happens.

In the grey morning,
bathed in their own pure light
bright blooms, fragrant breath
of insistent life,

the sweet song
of survival.

(31 Oct. 2013)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Don't Let Go

Image: Solomon Raj

When brief day fades
and darkness fills your life,
don't let go.  

In this sad land 
when cold rain falls
and winter winds strip bare
the green summer trees, 
hold fast my strong hand!  

In the gray world
when clouds conceal
blithe stars, and even
the brightening
moon has

never let go!

(4 January 2013)

Winter Marsh

Blue sky
fills the glassy earth,

and breathy breeze blows
on watery grass.

See how leathery reeds nod
to distant
white mountains

as marsh birds ride
the rippling waves!

Even the bright cloud ascends
in feathery towers
to flow swiftly away.

(31 January 2013)


tramping clouds,
driven by cold, winter winds
scuttle over rolling
low delta hills,
casting moon-shadows,
impasto over dark grass
and glittering waters;

but high above
the tormented Earth,
beyond the passionate chaos
of cloud and wind,

the bloodless moon sheds
pure light
into black space,
and, enraptured,
on the unseen sun.

(24 March 2014)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

the serene happiness of silent acceptance

For all God's gifts there must be in us a response of thanksgiving and happiness and joy: but here we thank Him less by words than by the serene happiness of silent acceptance.
Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation

With gift of thunder and pain
prepare the soil
for living rain.

With gift of streaming grace
fill my soul
with unspeakable faith!

(Holy Thursday, 2012)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Storm on Hunter Hill

Pure line 
slopes skyward

massive, dry, 
creased clusters 
hard shale, 

till crevasses,  
small streams, fill with rain, 
increase to flash-flood
greedy hands
grab pebbles, haul branches,
crashing to the road

The rain wants it all down,
to sink it into the sea, 
level proud mountains,
make all things 

but the rising line flows
to a distant ridge
where dark oaks
hold out
for hard, blue 

(2 Nov 2011)