Sunday, January 24, 2016

Prepare the Ground

The Sower, Vincent Van Gogh

When man is grounded in authentic truth and love, the roots of desire themselves wither, brokenness is at an end, and truth is found in the wholeness and simplicity of Nirvana: perfect awareness and perfect compassion. Thomas Merton, Zen and the Birds of Appetite

Prepare the ground.

Begin with new earth
and mix my baser soil
with falling rain.

Find illicit weeds
and by their roots extract
vain desire.

Raise higher
your righteous flame

and make ready the land
for summer’s living

(9 April 2012)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Night Train (California Zephyr)

The urgent night train,
rushing quite near
calling me, calling me
come away from there.

Listen! the whispering wheels
rumble on;
not a moment to lose,
but in a moment
long gone.

in the dark night I hear
a distant train calling
in another man’s ear,

and wondering
how opportunity’s lost
I feel in the wind
my fear’s cold cost.

(22 July 2010)

Meditation on a Grey Morning

Grey morning
the bland sky.

Black birds light
on bare trees
thin limbs wavering
as they flit
the frozen earth.

All the world is waiting,
to unwind explosive buds
to shed thin shrouds
and burst into emerald light
as joyful black birds rise
into the endless
blue sky.

Great is their faith,
these birds and trees.

They know beyond all reason
that the sun
will thaw
the icy grip
of violent winter

and consume the aching world
in the radiant heat
of resurrection.

(10 January 2013)

Monday, January 18, 2016

December Fog

Winding over fast roads
through shrouded hills, 
we see the familiar valley
under a white sea,

                   human confusion 
                   into pure cloud.

                                   over frozen white roofs
                                   beyond the veiled ridge
                                   the dark disc rises.

                                    Black dawn 
                                    breaks the long night

                                    and spills dirty light 
                                    over the waking city.

                   In the twilight sky
                   shadow shapes
                   fly in V 
                   over still trees, 
                   looking for rest,

any place to touch 
soft, giving ground 
and call it 
a nest.

(16 Dec 2010)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Storm at Sausalito

Sailboats lashed to the pier,
ebon masts, dark trees bare
with tightly shrouded canvas sail,
rigging singing in the gale,
pier groaning, grey waves grind
clinging sloops to taut lines,
steel bulwarks rise and fall
against gleaming, cool jetty walls.

(12 May 2010)

Saturday, January 9, 2016


In the murmur of darkened trees,
I hear your voice,
I want to sing,

but grating words cannot contain
gusty night-wind’s
solemn praise.

In the hush of trembling leaf
hosannas rise, rush
home to Thee.

(17 Aug. 2011)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Only One

"The only One Who can teach me to find God is God, Himself, Alone."
Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation.

The only one
who can fill black night
with interior light,

who can lead me
past the gun-shots, 
thump and thud,
hate filled percussion,
of hidden mines,

the death of 

is God,

(26 Jan 2013)

Monday, January 4, 2016


“This is the reality I need, 
the vestige of God in His
 creatures.”  Thomas Merton

Bright day,
seaward breezes
clearing the sky,

Can you feel the chill?

Can you hear sounds of
rushing trees,
of mockingbirds
cawing crows?

Behind life’s song
can you hear the beat,
the steady
basso continuo?

Oh, just gaze
hard enough
into the
living blue,
and be it!

You’ll climb the
bright back of night
and enter into
the song -

the song
in the mind
of God.

(27 May 2012)

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Louis Tiffany and Company, "Dogwood" Design Window: 1910-1915.

“The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God.”  Merton, Thomas, When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature

Her black eyes gaze
with pleasure.

My hand
flows slowly over her sinew, 
ears, fur; she purrs in praise 

that  life is right, 
hunger sated, 
love remains.

Looking into her eyes
I see a flame
beyond her understanding
beyond my understanding:

the spark
of being
freely given, 
freely accepted.

(31 Oct. 2013)