Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Photo: Brian Federle

“What is my new desert? The name of it is compassion. There is not wilderness so terrible, so beautiful, so arid, and so fruitful as the wilderness of compassion.” Thomas Merton

I’ll wander with you
in our pain.

Though dry days
and star-drenchd nights
we’ll search the sharp rocks
for pools of cool tears.

Forty days and
forty nights shall we journey
through the wilderness,

to the green oasis
where we’ll flourish —
lilies in hidden springs — 

and there  
we’ll possess
every good thing.

(13 Oct 2012/ revise 7/31/2018)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fountain of Fire

“Just as it is impossible for a man to see his face in troubled water, so too the soul, unless it be cleansed of alien thoughts.” Thomas Merton

Closing in
the ancient wind sweeps
still waters, turns clarity
to confusion, joy
to primal fear.

I seek my face
but see only a blush
on the river’s edge,
red betrayal seeping
from deep within,
from a wound unseen.

Cleanse me, O Fountain of Fire, 

still my fears
and again I’ll see
my face
washed clean
by grateful tears!

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Photo: Brian Federle, San Francisco Homeless, 2014.

my secret door
deep in the dark
I face you.

We are

I have no place
to hide.

I don’t want
from your steady

You see right through
my petty lies--
into the truth of
my shivering

You know me
and yet

you love me!