Friday, December 30, 2016


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
but sends away the rich
with nothing

no things to carry
in their powerful, sleek cars
to their empty houses
silent houses 
stony, soulless
but their names
on fine marble 

yet the poor watch
and still wait.

(24 March 2014)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


“Hope takes us entirely out of this world while we remain bodily in the midst of it. Our minds retain their clear views of what is good in creatures. Our wills remain chaste and solitary in the midst of all created beauty...”  Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island

Clear and whole, 
the moon waits,

solitary self
chastly gazing
on the blazing east 

on the new sun,
the good day.

(3 July 2012)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve, After Mass

The light from the tree
throws gold on my
dark wall.

Night lurks, but
thin windows
keep the wind at bay

as day flows faithfully
to day.

So we wait

for the exuberant sun
to spill reckless warmth
over the grateful Earth.

Life is a prize,
a gift of great value

gold given by the eastern king
to the newborn

So receive it!

Your faith
has saved you.

(24 December 2010)


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)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Listen to That Darkness

"Oh, listen to that darkness, listen to that deep darkness, listen to those seas of darkness on whose shores we stand and die. Now can we have you, peace, now can we sleep in Your will, sweet God of peace? Now can we have Your Word and in Him rest?" Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours.


I'll wait in this bright room.

Night rages, windows fade
to none,

and trees bend, thrashed
by your love-song.

For you I'll wait -
Oh when, oh
will you come?

(23 Aug 2013)

Saturday, December 10, 2016


The generals line-up, war-plans
in withered hands, ready to strike
the children.

But do not fear this transition!
For above the black clouds, know that He lingers,
Ready to strike!

Then will the blind see and the deaf hear.
Then will we leap for joy
As the mute break forth
In song!

Isaiah 35: 1-6A - 10.

(10 Dec 2016)

I, John

I, John, declare.
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)

Stones in the Darkness

stones in the darkness
cold, unseen, the wind above
my wooden fence sighs

silence in the night;
I hear only my hushed breath,
feel my waning life.

(12/26/2013 - 10 Dec. 2016)


The man of science said
that in the beginning
there was nothing,
obeying some quantum urge,
suddenly everything

and that was all.. .

that was just
the way it happened... no need
for God...just cold, hard
cosmic law.

But the poet,
hearing his breath
rush deep within his lungs,
feeling his heart pound in anticipation,
says to his beloved,

“Ha! I found You!”

(24 April 2014)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

They Seek You in the Storm

They seek you in the storm
riding high above the lightning, striking
the yielding earth with your fire.

In fields of the dead; in
seeds flung deep -
the generations unknown,

they seek you
in the stars
coldly staring,
your imagined face
in the emptiness of

But I know you. 

in my lonely night,
alone, I seek.

(31 March 2014; 8 Dec 2016)


In Memoriam John Glenn: July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016

Thin line of night, 
edge of living light,
as God's mighty hand, 
wipes clean 
this dirty slate
to begin again
a clear, new day.

New Year's Eve, 12/31/2011


Hail Mary
full of grace
you are
filled with grace,
with grace
fill me
in streams
of yes
draw me
to where you are
to where He is
among wo-
among men
fruitful, grace-
fully gliding
through the
dark veil
at the hour
of yes
to my

(29 December 2012)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Winter Tree

The winter tree 
does not move.

Its wide trunk 
plunges into graven earth, 
unseen roots, grasping hands
feel deeply the living soil,
hold firm anchorage
against the coming storm,

but rising wood, thin
though strong enough 
to paint slender lines, 
trails into purer air, 
gives shelter
to Christmas birds.

They hunch on stems, quietly
waiting to sing open 
the dawn.


Sunday, December 4, 2016 itself

“Life…by itself has neither purpose nor fulfillment.“ Thomas Merton

Fill my day
with soft breezes.

I hear the birds call;
singing bees
with the pleasure
of the sting.

Oh! Let me breathe deeply
the innocent air!

Minute by minute
force my life
through thin membranes,

for in the end
sleep will lead me
to bright seas, dreams
of fading mist;

fill it full
with your love!

(28 July 2013)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

silent night

stones in darkness
the cold wind sighs.

O hear my prayer
In this silent night!

the faint breath
of waning life.

November 1978

November lies in wait, violent month
stripping life from the garden
wind ripping leaves from living trees.

So much can happen after the harvest,
life can be broken,
the grave made rich.


Kennedy rode exposed in the cold Dallas sun
when a bullet ripped the November air, and
dark winds ran riot through fields of heaven,

dirty cyclones scattering dust
into our stinging eyes

and we cried under the black crepe
draped over blank, empty windows.


November, 1978, loomed large

in the twilight haze as we waited
and uneasily watched the news.

In thirsty Jonestown
the November heat swelled
the bodies of black children,
huddled in the arms of still mothers,
empty paper cups strewn on the ground
dripping purple Kool-Aid, happy drink for a hot day,
poisoned with bitter megalomania.

The stench of fear
permeated Geary Boulevard,
filling the looming, empty halls
of the People's Temple.

Protected by the glass wall of my television
I observed this distant slaughter
my eyes spared from the sting
of personal tears.


But November soon became personal,
and quickly took my father
and left me stunned,
empty and cold as frozen Ohio.

Bad comes in threes,
and in my rented car,
on the way home from the cemetery,
I heard of bloody mayhem in San Francisco,
madness splattering City Hall,
in the thick blood of Moscone and Milk,
struck down on a cloudy
November day.

(22 Nov. 2013)

Monday, November 28, 2016

to the center

constant hum,
music of days to
night fading; the right note, only
song you know; sum of your days, falling, failing to night.

to the
center, to
the black place to wait
for Him. Don’t call out in fear for
there’s nobody there but you and He, so silent be

how His song
fills your darkness with
light; smile at Him, your familiar
bright friend, and no longer will you fear your emptiness.

(23 Dec 2013)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Winter Solstice

Image from The Sunrise Blogger

Driving down the arrow-straight road
I'm blinded by the sudden flash
in my rear-view mirror.

The burning disc,
orange flame
rises over low eastern hills,
I  look away
into the dim west,

to the moon,
setting cool and deep,
hovering low
over Jamison Canyon,
in the blue morning.

It was smaller
when I saw it last night
hanging high
over my gleaming roof.

Then the moon owned the night
and drenched the grey lawns
with mystic light
our pale houses,
into windy mythic temples,
sheltering whispering shades.

Now the fierce sun claims
his wide, waiting world
as the supple moon
coolly descends;

But for a moment
across the brightening sky,
they gaze like lovers

from horizons in equilibrium,

in this perfect movement
of time.



Bird song rises 
in pure, liquid waves

as golden leaves
arc, twisting
to the ground.

Heavy gold
must fall.

October heat
will give way 
to winter rain.

Yet inevitably life flows 
like the breeze
rising from the broad sea
to the high Sierra;

grey clouds rise
and heavy snow falls.

All living waters

give praise.

(5 Oct 2010)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rain blurs my windows

Rain blurs my windows
melting color into color,
green grass merging
to luxuriant red blooms.

Golden leaves
fly wildly to the grass
and make of the lawn
a mottled carpet,
waiting for a brighter day
when my rake will scrape
them all into tall, brittle piles.

But today is a good day
to stay inside,
warm and dry.

(24 Oct. 2010)

She Sits in the Old, Red Chair

She  sits in the old, red chair
feet up, the red crush of the ottoman
giving rest to tired ankles.

At ninety-nine, her face is lined
and thin, cheekbones jut beneath
piercing young eyes, as hands, 
thin, pale skin barely concealing
vein and bone, lie in repose in her lap

as we talk, remembering all the days
and find her mind a crystal stream
vibrant, alive with a life of love

filled with places past 
and people gone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Three Poems for My Father


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
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?

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.

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


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Chocolate Hills

the green world drinks
the blue sky dry;
life’s tender leaf declines
while ancient cambrian
fire survives.

(17 March 2013)