Friday, December 30, 2011

Drawing A Poem

 Something stirs in you,
Grab the pen and open the sketchbook,      
glance intensely at life,
then back to the blank page.

 Life, the page and back,
your eyes flying,
see life emerging from the page,
set your hand in motion,
sketching the air,
your mind filling with the stirring,
feeling the shapes of what you see,
then skimming, landing on the white field,
 words running.

Lakelse Lake


Softly, like an evening sighing
through a thousand small leaves,
a choir of sunset among mountains
began to sing,

voices rose like mist above the water,
a solo roman candle slowly fell earthward,
flowering upside down over the lake
in bright showers of tembre and color
reflections of wilted roses
glowing from deep in valleys
of cumulus clouds,

music seen, tasting tart and tangy,
avoiding thorns
in days final folding
savoring inwardly a musical phrase,
a muse of salty blood
upon a sunset shuttered tongue


The new morning, lightly raining,
keeping moss green, tending
cedars rich and burgeoning,
silences of mist
sailing  among ancient trees
huge with years and forest wisdom,

all night tiny foot-steps like blessings
danced upon my roof
to no applause,
I heard them,
no one could have known,
as if someone was praying,
and now a light rain

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last Storm Prophesy

First it was a whispered air
more light
than stir a leaf

then it was a wafting sigh
mist floating on a pool of grief

multiplied into a breeze
filled a fleeing sail

then the august ship of state
foundered in a gale

and storms of sorrow
swept the world
someone to a cross was nailed
flags of darkness were unfurled
the lord of every lie was hailed
quislings chained
rebels jailed

but shall return the cross-hung one
with the keys to death and hell
cast the flag of darkness down
strip the lie from willing bone

and take His rightful throne
and take His rightful throne.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kingdom Of Heaven

Kingdom of heaven,
that secret fairy tale
in your deepest heart,
almost forgotten,
oak chest hidden,
coin of gold.

Gospel is a key,
opens your eyes--
claims the tale be true,

more true than your fantasies
ever dreamed.

Claims kingdom of heaven
is a land that extends
to wherever
King Jesus rules.

It grows by annexation:
wherever a municipality
or principality or village
or burrough
or single human heart
yields rulership to him,
there is the kingdom

It is a place of light and joy,
a place free of darkness,
bondage to sin,
a place of exuberant life,
quiet confidence,
trust and peace,
where all is trasparent,
pure as a mountain stream,
unselfconscious as a child.

A country where no penitent
is ever refused immigration.

Kingdom of heaven
goes wherever its citizen goes,
extends to whatever his hands
and thought-forms touch.

The citizen of that kingdom
cannot imagine anything
within its borders
of righteousness and light,
anything that is not
more beautiful and true,
powerful to the tearing
down of evil strongholds,
whose  child-like laughter
puts demons to flight
a raucous black flock
of clumsy crows.

Its power is irresistable,
cannot be defeated.

The kingdom of heaven sparkles
and shines like a city
of crystal and precious stones,
descends from the sky,
settles upon the earth
like snow or feathers of golden leaves,
one yielded heart at a time.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Overture To The Next Scene

High-rise civilization
collapses system by system
in clouds of silent dust,
around bud-deafened ears
of bewildered people.

brown sparrows sing timeless tunes
in the ancient olive trees
beneath them Jesus prays

Everywhere mortgages are due,
somewhere a clock strikes the hour,
a switch is pulled,
fiat wealth
(positive, negative electrical charges
stored on wafers of silicone)

brown sparrows sing timeless tunes
in the ancient olive trees
beneath them Jesus prays

Suddenly all those souls for pottage sold,
and others caught up
in the maelstrom,
know they can never
by money be redeemed,
the cloven-footed beast
holds the master I.O.U.
that trumps them all,
crouches in a corner of cyberspace,
measures with a bloodshot eye,
gnaws his knuckles
and snickers--

brown sparrows sing timeless tunes
in the ancient olive trees,
beneath them Jesus prays

the sun of grace is setting,
gather your faith,
it’s all you can take,
the harvest has come.

You know it’s late,
bloody saints are staggering
to the bus-stop
for the trickle home,
they say there's room for anyone
that will come.

brown sparrows sing timeless tunes
in the ancient olive trees,
beneath them Jesus prays

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Journey Prayer

we have come so far
from anger and rebellion
to this candle lit parchment
in a dusty document library
mysterious with old words.

we have walked in your city,
with its leaded stain glass windows,
through quaint old landscape tapestries,
into green farm lands,
cottage clustered villages,
your forgotten kingdom.

Simply kindle in us again
the creative fire of desire and vision,
collecting gifts we find to give,
scribbled scenes,
pages of torn poetry,
kingdom fragments

where you lift the fallen,
rejuvenate the broken,
make the shattered vessel
whole again.

trails of fallen leaves
we follow to the ampitheatre
where hope sings.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve.
 fifty years ago,
I was turning fifteen.
I slipped into the sheep pen with the wooly ones,
with an oil lamp and my harmonica.

I sat with them in the hay,
they lay all around me.

I played excerpts from Handel's Messiah,
every carol I knew,
 worshipped and sought a vision of angels,
sought unity with the holy  family,
listened for an echo from the Lord of Christmas.

The sheep were patient with my intrusion.

After midnight I went back to the house for bed.
I had not been disappointed.

I Make Another Journal

I will lift this pen and prepare this paper,
fold it just so,
then another and another,
bind them together in a book of leather.

I will fill it with praises to your mercy
and grace;

your rain that falls on the rich and poor,
the sunlight at dusk,
golden on long green shadows,
flooding with promises and mysteries,
evening gardens of the just and unjust,
 the honest man and thief,
the true and the betrayer;

to the agonizing cry, a winged answer,
gold in the mouth of a fish,
a lions clenched teeth,
floods that recede,
storms that obey when peace be still
comes breathing.

you are worshipped in the house
of the handicapped,
the cripple and deaf and blind
know your patience;
the prisoner is amazed at your love.

I know what it is to be your enemy;
you encircle me with kindness,
I am utterly defeated by your grace.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Greater Glory

The voice of thanksgiving,
rings melodious among the green trees
on the low pleasant hills
along the borders of praise.

The cougar, the bear and the wolf
are sleeping in their own shadows,
spirits of evil have fled away.

Let us walk these paths in the peace,
village to village.

The sun is warm,
the mist rolls back
to reveal here and there
a greater glory.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

His Poem

His poem was a pebble,
dropped into a well,
it fell,

It’s falling still

His poem was a little ship
upon the sea set sail,
unsunk by storm,
no harbour found,

it sails still

His poem was a little seed
breathing soft within a shell,
keep it well,
it waits to bloom
in fertile soil,

His poem was the word
made flesh,
the reconcile,
the peace-be-still,
his poem trashed
the gates of Hell,
freed some slaves,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


At The Banff Springs Hotel

She sat alone
in halls of stone
harp cradling

blue gown
gold trimmed round
gently falling

blond hair long
in slanted sun
by gothic window

head bowing
fingers dancing

flinging melodies
in minstrel offerings. . .

and rising soft
from her white throat
a golden song
a mornful note

a Celtic lay
of ancient loves
undoings. . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dancing Bean Cafe

The Dancing Bean Cafe on Willow Street,
 sculpted with a wooden knife,
disintegrates and emerges
under the island sun, moss and rain,
singing its  slow song with the forest.

warm and wooden,
three generations old,
uneven planked floors, painted, worn bare,
throw rugs here and there,

An island building shouldering another winter,
 hollowed out with hammer and saw,
logs and rough beams
shoulder the roof
 over tables, chairs of old wood,
 the finish long worn away.

Freshly perked, casually understated,
like a trail of driftwood along the shore
showing where high tide has been,
Grandma's house recycled into a cafe
complete with cookies and cakes.

People are tucked away at tables in dim corners,
Grandpa reads a book nursing coffee
at the same table everyday,
regulars read newspapers, work at laptops
and tablets.

A violin, guitar and flute play Celtic folk,
songs of travelers and old friends re-uniting,
students home for holidays.
the clink of cups and spoons,
aromas of fresh baking, fancy javas,
voices falling, rising. falling,
with rains and winds,
tides and forest.

We arrive with lives incomplete,
drawn into an assembly of travelers
retreating from the busy street,
finding a wooden cave, a pause,
with dark coffee and something sweet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Glimpse From A Dream

I was maker of shoes
in a coastal city
my shop two blocks up
from the beach.

One afternoon
I glanced up from my work
and saw rushing agitated crowds--
shoppers, shopkeepers,
streaming my street down

I waited till most
had hurried past,
I locked my doors
and followed

eagerness and irrational fury
sparked blue in breathless air
anticipation hurried my feet
rumour I was told:
something had crawled up
from the sea.

as I drew near,
I saw crowds converging
on a man placidly walking
parallel to the waves
along the sand
barefoot, dressed in a simple
ivory tone robe.

In spastic crashing waves of fury
as if to pursue and kill
groups armed with bottles and sticks
rushed him
but dropped or brandished
powerlessly as they approached

admiring crowds also gathered
who walked beside, behind him,
he was the calm centre
in a maelstrom,
whirlwinds of anger, amazement,

Walked as if no weapon
formed against him
could stand,
walked embodiment of peace
strolled down this beach,
a candle with a tall flame,
burning motionless and clear
perfectly clear,
in a violent storm.

A curious thing:
as he walked through the tumult
I saw
scattered among this throng
those who were held by his eye
as though
an unspoken question
embraced a silent answer
for one, then another.

I knew now his purpose,
and that my turn would come.

He looked deliberately at me
from centre of his clear still flame,
his eyes called my secret name
my knees buckled
a golden voice rang in my brain:
"Go back to the city,
I have work for you to do."

I faded away from the crowd,
returned to my work
making boots and poems,
commissioned and amazed,
forever changed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

From Christmas Past


A broken world,
fallen wreckage,
a crash site,
all souls lost,
in rising smoke see them waft
and swim, broken,
disembodied of all glory,
twisting in the dawning,

I among them in a dance
to the screams of tearing steel.

In this December enigma,
diaphanous lungs stretch
scars and rasping sing
glory to our only hope,
glory to the new born king.


mighty word rendered
in mighty music
choirs filling
stone halls
with resurrection
massive locked doors
since heard the very first word
and stone began to breathe


A quiet cold December evening
listening to the creaking
of the hot stove.

Icy fingernails
scratch the siding
my outer walls.

Slender white hands
of Maiden Winter
feel around doors,
window frames,
seeking slivery cracks
for drafts of entry.

We have burned
all the books
but one,

Another log.
all is well,
I found another log
provided for the fire.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let This You Know

pick up the unused guitar along the wall,
(it's Christmas, after all)
tune it and pluck the strings in arpeggios,
do not strum,
break all the old patterns,
begin to sing in pure voice,
open your throat,
let the sound rise from your belly
on waves of your life's breathing.

Do not struggle for words,
let the sounds simply come
even if the syllables and sighs
make no sense to your mind.

Do not struggle for melody,
let it be,
let the music rise,
let it be you and you alone
who sings.

Then you will be like the birds,
like a river between its summer green banks,
like a swan on an evening pond
sailing between stars and the moon,
wind choirs singing somewhere in the willows.

The wood of the guitar will melt with its flame
your hard places
and you will forget
with tears your pride,
you will remember things you never knew
you always knew,
and He will be praised.

Friday, December 16, 2011

From The Sanctuary

Here among the brick buildings,
between tree lined streets,
there is too much spilled blood,

between pounding drum beats,
broken vows,
the view is spoiled,
too much smoke to see the churning city.

wisdom speaks in syllables of silence.
I confess I am afraid;
in order to coherently report,
present my generation to life,
I must climb another perspective
to a sanctuary
in northern clouds, and fall prostrate
before an altar of reconfiguration,

watch as if in vision to record
the assailant and the victim,
wordless among the playing children,
the bruised rose and the torn dress
on the untrammelled, sunlit meadow
in a corner upstairs,

the smiling trusted one who saw
nothing at all. though he could have,
it was all in the mirror,
how the whole crowd missed it,
chose to ignore it,
lest all be shown
their own familiar face,

but the night will mercifully end,
new forgetting
begin again,
the sun will rise on Central Park,
on children sleeping in the bushes,

carriage horses, waiting,
will stand and stamp in their places,
a flagstone cross in the pavement,
while their grooms nurse
stainless mugs of hot coffee.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Books Beget Books

Books beget books
nature's law
paper and pen
every seed after its kind
leaf mulch that replenishes earth
grows trees with leaves again

when the cycle is broken
books  disappear
unless monasteries rise
from quarry stone ruins of churches as before
and build libraries where no one cares
honeycombed with cells
where a remnant
reading, praying, writing
save  seeds
for another age,
offering  body soul and spirt
 to the literal word made flesh,
in speechless silence
but for the chapel choir
the literary mulch begetting books
begetting learning begetting books
from ages of dark mulch
candle stub to candle stub
the light flickers
until the dawn of a new day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chapters Of Silence

The vow aches to overfill
silence to overwhelm

leave the fire and your book
let’s step out tonight
and stand all ear and eye
in our shack entrance
by lantern light

far from the nearest city
in a gentle storm of snow

hold your breath
still your heart

an owl's muffled
mouseless question
spruce-hidden flies

every falling lightly
crystal feather
landing sighs.

from the Pliades
from the skies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


gnarled and haggard
piled high
with dry and fallen years
a rasping prayer
a flame stilled
in cupped hands
streams past Aldeberon
all the galaxies beyond

threads of flame
on whisper wing
intercourse on golden string
time to timeless
vast cathedral throne
where stainglass history reigns

from hillside shack
of weathered wood
unpainted grey
an old man prays
upon a book
about a rock

the wind
are still
but for the ticking
of a clock

December Afternoon

Through a forest of maple and hemlock,
winter sun, gossamer and golden,
pauses briefly these December afternoons
to drape thin promise veils of light
trunk to trunk,
coy, ornamental silken scarves,
woven gold, transparent fine,
promises of warm Spring.

But blue ice creeps
around again, every evening,
following the shadows,
then Christmas comes to darkness
with ornamental promises of its own,
greater than gold fine spun,
carols like wood sprites,
with little colored lights,
planting seeds of redemption,
peace and good will,
hopes of never ending life,
intimations of love,
everywhere generously,
carelessly .

in the morning,
for those who look,
all nature blooms
with inner light.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dry Slake


A root in dry ground
erupts suddenly
with shoot of lush green

Sandy, barren,
not even scent
of water--
how then this foliage
blooming in such desert?

So you came,
have come now
into the world,
your root breaking
dry clods.

Your leaves shade
from burning sun,
your fruit satisfies
with a feast
of kings.


What would I say
if I saw you sitting
across this table
with a coffee?

I would look
into your eyes,
then, racking, weep
“Forgive me, Lord!”
in belly sob explosion

It has been so long,
since I have seen,
as now, in your eyes,
that underground spring,

followed it below
clashing city noise,
listened for its quiet song,
followed wherever it led,
to it’s exit into light,
drunk deeply
of its cool wet

I have tried
to quench my thirst
with colas,
my own making,
missed your celestial
satisfying slake,
galactic crystal river rushing,

missed you,
the living water.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Graces by cross
Southern night sky

Dances mute flowers
His fragrant breath

Blesses by rains
His fragile bloom

Walks by moon
my truculent sea

Stills my flame
that skyward steals

Prays by doves
soft muted cry

Gathers by churches
Spirits reply

Staggers to apex
history of man

Cannibals death
by endless beget

Surpasses by sunrise
final sunset.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


thought becoming music,
synapses firing symphonically,
mighty swelling winds of be,
wood, flesh and spirit

magnetic flux gathering
all roots of desire to itself
then stepping upon any
obscure stage anywhere,
prophesied exactly there,

for a thousand years,
stepping forth at what became
the centre of history,

introduced by the Father:
"This is my beloved son,
hear ye him."
a thing the poor and oppressed
are always glad to do.

He said "I do nothing of myself,
but what I see my Father doing,
that I do."

We look around us two thousand
years later for signs of the Father's hand,
opening our eyes,
plucking strings, voices singing,
flutes and violins,
watering the earth with words of redemption,
this we do.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Day

a low flute plays from somewhere in the misty hills,
a woman sings
five long tones in an unknown tongue
in random sequence,
a solemn hymn,
a haunting,
over and over the melody drifting,
a carol to mystery,
a lullaby,
 the forest sighing remembers
shepherd melodies like this one.

Then as if mistaking silence as solitude,
assuming quiet moments are privacy,
rocks shift comfortably all around me,
shouldering warm blankets of green,
promises under snow
in soft beds of moss.

I hold my breath,
it is Christmas,
all creation seems alive with secrets,
as though life itself, an infant,
has been born anew.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Concert Repertoire

A miracle always seems so ordinary,
no trumpets blown,  heraldic announcements,
a plum appears where a blossom was
on a branch that was dead since before
last Christmas,

through black emptiness, a falling star
blazes for an instant through Ursa Major,

on a walk she slips her hand in yours
and gives her life away,

across a green field, a golden horse
grazes, turning grass into muscle and grace,

an eagle soars, a poem is half remembered,
no trumpets,
                                    wind rustles a symphony of leaves.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

By Words

We take words,
break them like glass,
take each slicing shard
rim it with copper
fold it by hand
into a channel
cover edges, join them,
weld them with molten lead,

make from this a window
or a vase,
look out through it
at the world,
slabs of trees,
slathers of grassy hills
a precarious clastle
frowning down,
or make from this leaded glass
a vase for a rose

We look out at the world,
or inward at the flower,
the world mended,
flower prisoned broken
in a cage of glass,
copper, lead
tangled metal webs

We take words,
break them like stones,
build a casement
for our mended window,
build an altar
for our mended vase
of broken flower

We break words,
grind them fine for mortor,
build a church for our window,
for the vase, an altar

We take words,
light a fire for a candle,
gather words
of no other use
and kneel,
offer them in thanksgiving
and repentence and praise

perhaps by words
we may find mercy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beginning Word

melodic line
describe the cosmic

Plumed syllable,
finned furred or feathered
dart break-darkness forth,
spirit first,
to measure heart-beats worth.

Light-sword stabs
of conquering flame
by far-flung word
decapitates the shadowed sphinx
that only thinks
with draw-forge,
wind-breathed wire,
that only sings
harmonic star-shot choirs
of song.

Aurora Borealis
over still mountain lake,
wearing midnight stars,
the living light of man
 to the be of heard,

throbs to wounding
of that sacred head
who swallows in victory
life of dead
by random
in His patterned word,

rising from the black absurd,
bleeding red,
leaves no unworded
budding syllable
cast forlorn
on breasted silence,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fortelling Told

A river begins
beneath mountain
glaciers and snow,
seeps down
broken, colden,
cracken stone,
gathers deep below,

in music unheard
into subterrainian pools
in echoing caves,
from level to level,
sings a private song,
gathers unto itself
as it falls,

grows larger underground
in its own history,
brooding over a broke
drunken valley of children,

but by mountain dwellers
along his sacred banks,
prophets who slake thirst
or wash in its flowing

who saw first,
thousands of years ago
the unborn Messiah,
Lamb Of God,
slain from before
rock pools formed rivers
on any planet,
under any star,
in the foundations
of the world.

They knew
little Bethlehem’s glory,
a virgin with a baby,
they heard cries
of innocents slain,
weeping mothers--
find all this in their ancient poems--

prophets who saw
sacrifice, shame, and salvation,
rejoiced in the resurrection,
entered by faith
the past and future kingdom
with bathers and dwellers,
redeemed of all time,
who drink of these sacred
Christmas waters.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lake Trilogy



Sunlight dances on a path
across the wooded lake
from his place behind the forest hills
beyond the clouds,
to my dusky beach.

it is time for setting,
but strains of rag-time
acoustic guitar seem to reach him,
he lingers as if for reluctant good-byes,
a strictly ordered life,
by curfew he is gone,
yet his footprints
sparkle on the waters still

now golden reflections,
like remembered music sent
from the veiling clouds,
dance the old quadrille
on liquid paths the sun made,
lyrical steps to the music
of Albinoni's bolero played
upon Marc Atkinson's guitar;

four inch breakers roll upon the shore,
curl like big boys before they break
with a little splash,
a tiny sand-piper busy among them.

Now music mellows, as do the waves,
the lake shimmers in glittering tremelo,
shadows deepen,
a loon splashes and cries.

The echoes die away,
a great hush settles
like a warm blanket by candlelight.


This morning a quiet mist
tip-toes in among the hills
around this inland sea.

Languid waves lap the shingle shore,
the water is undisturbed,
but by waking dreams.

Across the water I see low hills,
copses and fields, houses of men
tucked among them.

Piles of grey clouds hang overhead
with suggestions of coming rain,
willowy wind rustles her skirts,
picks up the pace,
wavelets dance in the wake
of her passing,
a family of loons motor by,

I see an ancient world
happy with itself;
the distant houses,
their fields of hay for the cattle,
ferry of commerce crossing
near the horizons arc,
the man with his book on the beach;

Happy or sad, at war or peace
ascendant, descendant,
intentions slicing the waves
or carried by them,
sometimes dancing perhaps,
but never the dance.


waves are grown to crashing now,
rushing to wreck upon the shore,
it is breakfast at camp,
toast and eggs on the windy beach,
grown cold and blustering a bit
a foreshortening of time
under a lowering sky,
but we are warm,
yet, for now in this wilderness,
though time be short,
we are warm.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Confluence bleeds
blue electric flame
till soul and spirit
breathe the same
from harvest cutting
Sharons long stemmed rose
to midnight shining
Southern Cross
street lamps line the path
His kingdom came.

Weeds whisper
as they toss
to the wind
and rattle
dry seed pods
as if promises
from pagan gods.

I heard them rustling sigh
“Our weakest are the first
to die
first to rise again”
in floral descant to what
the dusty weed-straw
chorus said:

“Valley-lily somewhere by
is Balm in Gilead
there is a Balm
in Gilead.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas The Herald

Every Christmas I ask
“Is this the last one?
have not maggots
and worms of avarice
polished white
the last bone?”

Man always needs a holiday,
a break from work,
the economy can always
use an orgy
of materialistic consumerism,
a fish dried
over a smoky fire,
a shrivelled pickle
in a jar,
a seasoning tradition.

Christ is cut and broken
every Christmas,
a condiment served with cheese
and crackers with wine,

but this speaks only
of corporate memory,
Jesus really was born a man
who lived and died
and rose again,

not really fish dried,
or pickles in a jar,
a real king who shall come
heralded by a real star.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Forest Dream

 I sleep and face a thick forest,
looking into its distance,
the trees close together,
each one slender with a white trunk
thick with leaves in varieties
of rich greens,
the underbrush a thicket
of soft grasses and low bushes,
even scattered flowers.

The trees recede into velvet blackness,
in the crowded distance
all light  is sponged away,
before me a path I trampled myself,
crushing the understory
winding off into secret darkness.

A voice says “This path is neural,
this forest, your mind.”

“You have beaten a way
to forbidden knowledge,
good and evil,
Now pound down a neural
path to me.”

“When the hour of your trial comes,
running your new trail
is all that will save you.”