Saturday, April 30, 2016

In the Depth

depth of
distance, past
silent, wide fields, past
concrete steps, rushing cars, trucks, lives
unknown, stands the wood: still, closed, filled with what’s possible!

(7 March 2013)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Early Rising

early rising, fresh
sky night-black, just brightening
to early-bird’s joy,

but still tired,
eyes red,
I think I will go
 back to bed.

(17 June 2012, rev. 27 Apr. 2016)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meditation at San Damiano

San Damiano retreat Center

dark veins fill my sight
lying dendrites firing doubt
through my fragile faith,
denying all escape
but as these steps ascend the steep hill
and converge into the unseen sky
I climb
to my blue redemption,
and free.

(20 Aug 2010)

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The children watch his hands
strain against leather, tug
tough hide, obdurate skin,
once supple and alive, 
now stiff and dry,

see how his patience,
like love,
wears death down
until new shoes grow
in his strong hands.

They learn to bend 
life's refuse
to new use,

how being 
always finds 

Thus, in lines of memory
we measure our days.

The ancestors guide us
as we build new form
from old tears,

and our children
and learn.


Shoemaker, Hung Liu, 1999, oil on canvas, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA

At the Bird-feeder

Rushing, pushing
the sparrows shove;

pulsing wings
beating the air,
all for a bounty 
of unexpected feed!

When drops two doves.

 Wings folded,
they plaintively call;

seed of plenty

gently falls.

(9 May 2015)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Encounter

on sun-warm carpet,
gazing out on fenced wilderness, she extends
to furthest extremity; claws reach and retract
as she clenches
padded fists.

in an instant she's on all fours,
back arched, whiskered mouth grimaced to
horrible grin as she growls and spits
into the gleaming window.

Looking back,
assured by double-pane,
the bird, all feather and fearless eye,
wonders at this new, strange
creature glaring inside.

(25 Apr. 2013)

Image: Cat and Bird by Paul Klee

Friday, April 22, 2016

The World is a Sacred Vessel

“The world is a sacred vessel . . .” Thomas Merton

blue vessel
in black vacuum

miracle world
thrall of this perfect star

sacred vessel,
His living cup
to beloved proffered, 

wedding gift
beyond measure.

(3 May 2012)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fountain at San Damiano

Splashing like diamonds
water fills the bowl
spills to cool shallows
to darting larvae,
fetal tadpole.

A river falls
drawing grace
 to darker pools
where pensive koi
deep waters

(4 June 2013)

Living Rosary

The children sit calmly
their complacent voices
monotone as a monk's chant.

They repeat the ancient words
recalling grace and courage
at the hour of death.

They really don't know
about the terror
and bliss of angelic visitation,

how a single greeting
can change everything

in a single moment dash
her young, pure heart
into the Judean dirt,

while her soul, enraptured,
soars high into the clear
desert sky. 

These are mysteries too deep
for their supple, green minds.

But I feel
in the rise and fall of their words,
her gentle acceptance
of the thrusting sword,

her transcendent smile
as the whip
tears across His tender skin,

the redemptive power of
all undeserved suffering.

These good children do as they're told
and behave well, reverently reciting
the millennial hope

on the bright gym floor,
in their school-day
morning prayer.

(1 May 2013)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Glaring like a field
covered with new snow,

this incipient page waits
for my typed letters
to alight
like raucous grackles,
foraging, finding

no tender shoots,
no easy meal.

These are hard times
for those who stay close to home
never winging it
to southern lands,

these dedicated black birds,
scratching the page
for another metaphor.

Survival here is measured
in image and rhythm,
in nascent
white space.

(9 Dec. 2010)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Aubade: Suisun Valley

“Love is not mere emotion or sentiment. It is the lucid and ardent response of the whole man.” 
Thomas Merton

Waves of grey light
wash over our small valley.

Cool morning
sea-born breeze prevails
for now.

High-toned birds wait
for the golden sun to ignite
our swaying trees.

Only in the darker eves
do I hear the mourning dove’s
steady moan.

In silver-blue tones,
he bids his love


(31 Oct 2013)