Friday, December 28, 2018

After Christmas


Photo, Brian Federle: Desert Tree, Palm Springs, Dec. 2016.

After Christmas
life persists, though
the bare trees are
dancing with death,

their leaves ripped
from living flesh;
disincarnate,they wait
for the storm.

So how, then, can I endure?

I live that day every day,
clenched fists pounding
my penitent heart, crying
Mea culpa! Mea culpa!

What kind of a father am I,
absent at the hour of your need?

Oh, forgive me, my son!

Surely tomorrow

the rain will come.

(28 Dec. 2018)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

On the Feast of St. Stephen

The Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Peter Paul Rubens 1616-1617


"The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his striving – by which man becomes one with God." (Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain)



See how wind tears, how
clouds ravage the sky
to shreds…

Can you hear the geese fleeing,
shouting dread
as the savage storm crouches?

Are you afraid?

I know
how the sea sometimes
launches boulders;

but the stubborn land
bows and waits
and, swollen, forgives

with torrents of life;
rivers of joy.

(2013-2017)

Gloria


Photo, Brian Federle: Pacifica Sunset


Sudden light
flares in the eastern sky.

Bright clouds burst
and consume the void
with glory.

The newborn child,
wrinkled and pink, warms
in his mother’s embrace

and waits for the stunned world
to exhale.

(23 December 2012)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Atonement


"There must be a time when the man of prayer
 goes to pray as if it were the first time 
in his life he had every prayed."  Thomas Merton


Grey mist
rises and falls
enfolding parched hills
easing autumn’s harsh pain
saturating the spreading valley
with gathering rain

and mercy.

(1 Oct. 2012)

The Window of Being

“Actions are the doors and windows of being. 
Unless we act we have no way of knowing what 
we are. “ Thomas Merton

Walk
through the door
and do
not stay
in this dark room,
silent,
inactive
thin soul of
yesterday’s
rain.

No.

Break open the window,
and breathe deeply
the light

of being.


(25 Oct 2012)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Invitation

Come into my night;
the darkness is so cold
that sparrows flee
my winter trees,

so I have closed
my windows and my doors
to horde my little warmth.

Crickets will not sing delight
and stars no longer glimmer
in winter’s dreary night.

O come,
O come, Emmanuel!

I am captive and dull.
I cannot see the flashing stars
that lurk beyond the cloud.

O come into my small house
my meager fire share.

O come, and bring fierce angels
to cut away death’s empty snare!


(30 Jan 2011)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Magnificat




The poor still wait
for bolted doors to open
hunger to be filled
and concern to replace
the deep scorn

of the rich, who believe
God is on their side,
who offer golden chalices
and cathedrals of crystal
to purchase
eternal life

with God, who remembers
the poor 
will fill their every
need
but sends away the rich
with nothing

no things to carry
in their powerful, sleek cars
to their empty houses
silent houses 
stony, soulless
mansions, 
nothing
but their names
on fine marble 
engraved,

yet the poor watch
and still wait.

(24 March 2014)



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I, John


Photo: Brian Federle, Desert Sunrise, Dec. 2016


I, John, declare.
Listen!
Can you hear?
Open your eyes and see.

With outstretched hands reach and
proclaim to the world of endless strife
the Word of peace,
eternal Life!
*
ref: 1 John 1:1-4

(23 December 2011)


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Advent Wreath



The pale sun, gliding low,
refuses to rise into leaden
grey skies, so bleak night
inters our sinful souls.

Oh! break out the candles
and place them around!
See how their fires
consume the dark ground.

Bouquet of flame!
devour our sins,
and ignite winter’s night
in holy conflagration.

(12/1/2010)