Thursday, November 29, 2018

Ascension



“Deep contemplative silence communicates prayer.” Thomas Merton

Your voice
sings
words 
suspended
mid-flight
like apples 
falling
in a 
dream.

I hear
my soul
breathing,
ascending
to your
voice.

(11 Aug. 2012)

Flow

It flows
over highways
dripping down
lamp-posts
through gutters,
pounding
storm drains,
filling
narrow lanes,
past dark houses,
past high-tension
wires, driving
through
constraining fence,
unfettered
it fills
the green hills
and rolls
through folding slough, past
low bridge and causeway,
ever lower
down to Suisun Bay,
unstoppable
like a swimmer’s blood
pulsing through throbbing vein,
reaching for Gate of Gold
to break free,
to become
one with
One.

(19 April 2011)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Three Poems for My Father


Photo: Brian Federle, Overcast in Oregon
…on the 40th anniversary of my father’s death

i

When I last saw you
Your hands were clenched
With a rage foreign to your voice
And you were rushing inward
Away from the moon, beyond the glowing
night
Of my grief.

Yet on my way home
I saw the moon rise.

Where have you gone, then, If not
to that land behind the moon?

ii
In the emptiness above the earth
In the terrific clashing of jet with atmosphere

I heard your new voice
I saw your new hands

Tearing at the cold, hurtling steel,
Casting off silk shroud

For dark soil
And even darker rivers.

iii
If stars loom too large
Is not my window too small?

(11/24/1978)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Winter's Tree of Leaf and Bird



Winter's tree, of leaf and bird, 
of mystery stripped
silent and spare

where living glade
with leafy trunk and fragrant limb
once hid mockingbirds 
as they played
through drowsy summer's 
longest day.

But now in winter's brittle chill 
all is silent, all is still
as death works out 
his hollow will.

(28 Dec 2011)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Blue Days

Photo: Brian Federle, Sunset at Pacifica Seawall, 2013

Blue
days race
to starry
grace, candles plunging
to panting dreams. Power is brief.
The mounting sun with youthful stride lusts for noon’s brightest
heights, but ennui runs deep gently
recedes sun’s fading
fire to
rising
pyre.


(12/21/2013)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

My Sister's Birthday


We watch as toddlers
run squealing through the house,
laughter bounding through bright halls,
a knee-level storm of pure joy.

They punctuate our grown-up conversation
as the slide-show begins.

Now you’re the bright eyed infant!

Mom was so young and pretty
Holding you close
in her strong, gleaming arms,

as the cousins, delighted, cry
“Look! Grandma’s a baby!”

In wonder we watch
the years of youth and school
love and weddings
and bright new babies,

pause on the haunting eyes
of those gentle people
whom we’ve loved
then lost
to the good night.

As your party continues,
I see in the eyes
of four generations,
a century’s worth
of smiling for the camera
a cloud of love
transcending both years and death.

So don’t worry about your age, dear sister.
clearly
we never really grow old.

(5/11/2014)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Contact

ham_radio

I search the narrow rooms of memory
through steep, childhood hallways
under high ceilings, past dim, flowered lamps,
when, trembling, I hear echoes calling me
in deep tones of summer thunder
to our willow tree out back
just as the blinding lightning
contacts
and shatters the still-living wood.

Afraid,

but compelled by my father’s gentle voice,
I retreat
to another room
in my mind.

In the kitchen, at the top of the long, painted staircase,
I hear small, shrill squeaks and low, electric hums
coming from your ham radio set,
and walking down, I see you,
hunched in the red glow
of your magic box, calling softly
into your silver microphone,
“W8PNW calling CQ, calling CQ, calling CQ”

O lonely angler, you cast gossamer lines into the eternal, black sea
looking for a catch, any response, any acknowledgement,
but I’m with you! Standing by your shoulders,
I hear the distant human voice respond
“K8QJZ to W8PNW, receiving you loud and clear!”

I feel your joy of connection
as, quickly you fill out your special postcard,
(American Bald Eagles triumphantly unfurling your call letters)
to mail to your Newfoundland friend.

This, too, is contact.

Another soul found, identified, and filed
in your list of ham-buddies, and I grin with you
as you sign off
and resume your patient search.

(7/14/2010)