Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Photo: Brian Federle, Palm Springs Dawn, December 2016

daybreak, still limbs lace
to gray sky, wait for the next
storm to shake open

morning, still sleeping
shuttered windows conceal the
cold face of daybreak.

(1/22/2012 - 8/29/2017)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Relationship Between Love and Grief (Remarks by Jan Richardson, August 10, 2017)

"Passage" by Brian Federle

From “Grief is a gateway to grace, which can remake the world, LCWR president tells 2017 assembly” by Soli Salgado. Global Sisters Report: A Project of National Catholic Reporter.

The relationship between love and grief: (Remarks by Jan Richardson, August 10, 2017).
To be undone and remade by grief's hand is a messy, scary and cathartic process, said the keynote speaker for Aug. 10, Jan Richardson, an artist, author and ordained United Methodist minister**.
Richardson discussed her emotional journey following the unexpected death of her husband, Gary; he died in 2013 just three and a half years after they had married. In him, she both found and quickly lost her creative partner and "co-conspirator."

She invited the sisters to consider what it means to "be the presence of love" (the theme of the assembly) even when it seems that the "love that's been present seems to have left us." She said death is a process that can come in many forms: a physical death, the death of a dream, loss of a familiar lifestyle, or "the ending or changing of a community that has held our hearts."

That death is universal and yet can take such different forms for each of us, she said, has been "one of the strange and beautiful things about navigating grief in the wake of my husband's death."
"When absence erupts in our lives, how do we call upon the presence of love that goes deeper than our loss?" she asked the LCWR attendees. "How do we open ourselves anew to the presence of love that endures far beyond death?"

"It has been crucial to me to attend well to the grief, to give it time and space, to let it say what it needs to say. … Call it my personal protest or act of resistance in a culture that so often wants to urge us along in our grief, wants us to move on beyond our mourning, wants us to be OK, because not being OK can make other people uncomfortable."

If we try to hurry along the grief, Richardson said, we risk missing the presence of love.
"May my love be more fierce than my grief," she repeated, a special prayer for her in this particular moment of grieving.

A seemingly subtle but distressing adjustment Richardson didn't anticipate was her new relationship with pronouns and tenses: What was once "we" and "ours" had become "I" and "mine."
"Where can we live in the plural present, with those whose hearts we hold and who hold us in theirs?" Richardson asked. "When our hearts break, where can we still say 'we' in the way that enables us to know that we are not alone? Where can we still say 'now' in a way that allows us to live into the love that does not end with death?"

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Crow on a Branch

Crows rise and drop
in the high redwood tree
arguing, competing
to see who would light
on the top-most limb,
as thin branches, bending
under their weight, waver
and bow

when suddenly
one raucous crow
comically falls.

Cawing, the clumsy black bird
beats out his own breeze,
and rises again
to the argument.

(10/19/2010 - 8/24/2017)

    Sunday, August 20, 2017

    The Gate of Heaven is Everywhere

    “The gate of heaven is everywhere.” Thomas Merton

    I can hear your soft breath,
    gentle strains of music

    the easy breeze
    nudges the curtains

    and peace flows
    across my skin
    like cool water.

    But soon impatient dusk
    will overtake bright day

    when the sun dims
    in the dark grip
    of eclipse, and ancient
    terror thrills even
    the most
    comprehending mind;

    for this is when
    overtakes fact,

    and unknown stars glint
    in the afternoon sky.

    We never knew
    they were hanging so low,

    diamonds in deep

    new light!

    (27 Nov 2012: 21 Aug 2017)

    Friday, August 4, 2017


    Photo: Brian Federle, Salton Sea, Dec. 2016

    My breath rises
    to the edge of space
    and pauses
    at the nexus of perfection,

    then falls,
    driven by waves of fire, 
    by strong hands guided 
    through dust and rain, 
    through ice, through
    the shining

    to my upturned face
    where a single drop dies
    and fills me with
    the storm's desire.

    (Posted 2012.  Revision 8/2017)

    Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    Light, directly infused

    Photo Brian Federle, Sunset at Carlsbad, Jan. 2016

    “Faith reaches the intellect not through the senses
     but in a light directly infused by God.” Thomas Merton

    Rising from the sea
     death’s veil
    overwhelms me.

    Brief day fails,
    fills the sky
    with starry sails

    wandering planets,
    cold and bright –

    holy spirit
    of faithful night.

    (2012: 2017)