Monday, November 26, 2012

Incident

"Inexorably life moves on toward crisis and mystery." Thomas Merton

Out on the edge
death staggers,

frail legs falter
and fail,

but wait!
light is arising,.

life resuming,
breath prevails.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Quarrel


"Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt." Thomas Merton

Words spoken drift like
mustard gas, doubt burning like
webs, unexpected

spiders brush my ears,
slip into my eyes as blind-
ly I rush away.

Your Silence Sings


“Silence can carry many different messages; it can be a powerful form of communication.” Thomas Merton

Your silence sings in 
emerald leaves glistening
through arching blue skies.

Apple trees groaning 
anointing the sacred ground 
with seeds of silence.

Close by rushes a 
train; howling wind brushes my 
face with your silence.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Final Parting

“The things that are on the surface are nothing; what is deep is the Real.” Thomas Merton

The visit was nearly over;
all that could be said
was nearly said.

My mother lay still on her sick-bed,
carefully arranged in the living room,
smaller than ever I saw her,
pain numbed at last,
as peacefully she fingered her rosary
and waited for me to come in
to say goodbye.

Walking into the dusky room
I knelt down at her low bed
and kissed her sallow face and embraced
her thin, cancer-riven body,
when suddenly she held me tight,
and with surprising strength, pulled me down,
tearfully embracing her child,
and nearly breathless, whispered in my ear,
“I never thought anything like this
would ever happen to me”

and empty at last,
I left.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Aubade: Night into Morning


We lie under high arched windows
awake in the deep winter night
and gaze on the tallest trees
glazed in silver light.


They reach up to the radiant moon,
their fingers spread bare and plain,
raised in silent prayer 
after December's cold, hard rain.


Your face is bathed in these holy rays,
and I fight sleep; I cannot turn away
from truth so deep as the moon beaming 
through our wintering trees ardently streaming.


But I close my eyes for a moment, then see
dawn drawing azure from night's darkest seed,
and the trees' golden limbs rising on high
to praise morning's vaulting blue sky. 


So I arise and turning to you I see
how night flows to dawn eternally
and to the resurgent world restores
the spring of our never-ending joy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vanitas Folia


Leaves quickly fall
now that November
is nearly done. 

From behind a glass door
I watch the dry storm,
blanket the ground,

Useless appendages
liabilities in the wind,
cast-aways await
the hollow scraping
of my wide rake.

Yet in the tree
holdouts
hope for reprieve, 
wave and rush 
confidently 
sure that bright color
can distract, delay death
with brilliant 
blush.


Raking Leaves




Look to the tallest tree
and see how the noon-day sun
glints through slender grey limbs
to where leafless Life contracts
to its tender core
(this year’s ring
complete)
and waits for winter’s storms.

Leaves lie,
golden harvest, luxuriant carpet
to kick and scatter like
brittle snow. . .
. . . years ago

playing through the autumn day long,
we built castles and smashing them,
dove deep into fragrant mounds.

Incense of burn piles
sanctified the chilled air of November.

Today I just rake,
scraping turf
making smaller heaps to haul
into my big green recycle bin
and see how golden autumn light
softly glows in gleaming grass,
free at last
from the detritus
of summer.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Night Plows



lights glare, clouds rise, flare
in the night, blades split earth, fur-
rows before the storm.

November Wind

cold wind
tears at my hair

thin wisps,
fine threads
make me 
blind

as towards bright 
rooms I run

through silver sleet 
piercing my core, 

I pass
through winter's 
icy door.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Two Poem Morning

Creation had been given to man as a clean window through which the light of God could shine into men’s souls. Thomas Merton

Holy Spirit


I lift heavy legs and groping for glasses,
stumble through my dark house
to see if night will return the sky.

Aching for the new day
I sip strong coffee
and write.

Listen! Birdsong rings
from dark trees.

Wise winter birds
know that the world
begins
and ends
with song.

With the rush of wings
they teach me,
how to capture the infant sun!

They show me
how, with trill and vibrato,
to end the dreary night.

They use breath and light
to rise to heaven,
and renew with love
the face
of the earth.



Aubade: Morning Rain


Living trees, grass rising
from dark cool soil

Roses, like blood from a wound
rise above a common weed.

Its fugitive life persists
evading my brutal hands.

November rains
provoke darker green

Dim clouds pour
solemn waterfalls

Holy tears renew
the life of our dark world.