Monday, November 30, 2015

Second Death



In the darkness of noon
proud souls decline
from glittering heights
to October's stark truth.  

Sacred fire ignites
their hopeless, sad flight
into sin and self-
separation.

(20 Oct. 2011)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

We Must Believe


We must all believe in love and in peace.
We must believe in the power of love.  Thomas Merton

Peace fills this house
as I alone awake and hear
the sounds of easy breathing,
the morning birds, striving
with rising dawn, singing
in the sun with piercing song,

while in the great distance
beyond the gentle flame of sunrise
anger rages.

The birds of Homs are silent.

Waning day swells
with the wails of
mothers.

They cradle the innocents,
caught in the fire
of a Assad’s withering greed.

Thy will be done.

Though I cannot understand
I must believe
in your powerful love,
your infinite
Peace!

(25 July 2012)

The Connecticut Effect

devastating velocity,
blood thirsty, fresh death-
dealing NRA
lies fly super-
sonic flesh thud-
ing ragged rounds
slamming into
stunned souls,
dreams
die.


(26 Feb 2013)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mass


If I trust You, everything else will become, for me, strength, health, and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust You, everything will be my destruction.
Thomas Merton  Thoughts in Solitude

When it begins
music plays and we sing
songs of gathering, greeting.

This, then, is the family complete,
assembled around the table
ready for the thanksgiving feast.

Why can’t we just stay
innocent,
present?

We tell the stories of youth,
laugh at self-folly, glad at last
to tell the truth,

but soon we feel the pain
of separation, of nails
driven deep
beneath our tender skin:

his heart breaks; cancer invades

her beloved body
and we can only stare
at vacant crossings,
bereft, 

alone,

until You speak.


Believing beyond reason,
we feel the bread, deep down,
subsumed
into our very guts, spreading
unreasonable warmth
and comfort
and joy!

We cannot understand such power
but without it
our lives
would cease.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

To an Unknown Land



To an unknown land
o’re the distant sea
crowding me in, it
carries me.

Through night and day
I'm rushed along.
I want to stay though
I can't stay long.

Compelled to go,
I linger with you;
Though I want to remain,
harsh time whispers, "no."

(9 Aug. 2012)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

O Salutaris Hostia


My foe draws near
and darkens my sight
leads me to hatred,
and the hard, futile fight.

Cruel night
descends
on this cold, foreign place,
but to you, Holy Victim,
with hope I do pray!

Oh, open the gate
to my true, native shore
and forever I'll praise you
for your strong arm restores

my life and my love
to bright day evermore.

(11 April 2012)





Thursday, November 19, 2015

Holy Days

Image, Vincent Van Gogh, Road with Cypress and Star, 1890

These are my holy days

when dark spirits inundate
the mystic forest
and urge me with purling song
into empty waters.


But I’ll stop this descent

into somnolent night.

I see a new way to fight
this terminal pain.

Looking into your eyes
at last I confess
your brighter path
and joyfully say,
Yes!

(20 Nov 2012)


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Old Simeon's Blessing




Blessings
on this radiant child.

I'll smear his head 
with bitter oils, cool 
his brow with the waters
of paradise, 
and with sweet incense
raise to heaven
his soul!

...but I fear for the life
my failing eyes foresee
how the rich of this land
will fear him, strike him down,
covet even the air
he breathes,

and you, daughter,
the soldiers will pierce 
your tender breast
with heavy swords
tear an open wound
deep in your heart, 

to be a sanctuary
for all the mothers
of all the children
yet to be slain.

Most blessed
are you, my child, most holy
is your name.
        
 *

ref: Lk 2:34-35

(7 Jan. 2013)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Terrorist


“People who know nothing of God and whose lives are centered on themselves . . . . can only conceive one way of becoming real: cutting themselves off from other people and building a barrier of contrast and distinction between themselves and other men. They do not know that reality is to be sought not in division but in unity, for we are ‘members one of another.“ - Thomas Merton, from New Seeds of Contemplation

Je suis un parisien!  14 Nov 2015
Carry your anger

in a heavy bag
filled with nails
and sharp shards -
hate honed to
hard edge of
murder.

When you see
their bright smiles
you will know
it is time
to ignite
your Inspired
device.




(28 April 2013)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Kentucky


Image: Fancy Farm, Kentucky

Summer steam
washes us clean
like a warm bath

as we wade through young fields, 
new corn waist high 
to where blue sky 
meets the rustling green sea.

We navigate by dead-
reckoning to the red barn. 

Wary of snakes, 
with flailing stick you flush 
out the tall, quick hares.

Feathers flashing, quail
burst heavenward at 
our clumsy approach, 

but in the dark barn 
we find 
forgiveness.

God's own light streams down 
into fragrant stalls
as wise eyes
regard us.

We reach out to touch.

They nod, 
first in warning,
then with bright approval.

(6 Feb 2012)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Vicksburg



The river glints
in the morning light
as we slowly drive
past the guard-gate
and into the rolling hills
of the Vicksburg Battleground.

But there are no battles here today
in this ringing forest ,
on these wrinkled meadows;

These cannons spit no fire
into this soft Mississippi morning,
and no soldier falls, sighing
into these cool, dark earthworks.

Slowly we drive the winding road
past a bronze soldier
grasping his bronze rifle,
tensely gazing
into the empty distance, waiting
for the screaming charge,
of his deadly brothers.

But all anger spent,
they sleep now
under smart ranks
of gleaming stone;

Now they lie,
unknown soldiers,
lulled by whispering
Southern magnolias
far from forgotten
Northern homes.

(5 August 2010)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Boy's Gift





I only have
two little fish and
the five barley loaves
my mother packed
for my father and me
for our long
walk home.

I’ve been hungry before
and fear losing my little dinner,

but your eyes so fill my heart,
that, smiling, I give you all I have.

Oh, you must be the One!

for from my meager dole
you feed five thousand souls.

Never again
will I be hungry!

(5/28/2011)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Angeles



Just before nightfall
your new leaves
softly sway
in the cool delta breeze,
your limbs glint
in flames of
a deeper shade
where rough trunk rises
from clambering vinca,
to violet fire.

Oh! Dance with the angels!

Dance with Lord
of the Trees!

His breath will stir you to passion,
His song will lull you
to sacred sleep. 


(22 April 2012)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Grace




dry earth

shifting ever-down

to lowest ground,
dust sifting
autumn’s blight,
to winter’s,
longest night,
until Grace
unrequested, freely
given, undeserved
fills with unreserved life
springs, white-water  
rising higher
than could ever
have been
conceived!



(3 Dec 2012)