Saturday, March 31, 2012

When From A Talent Show A Gem

Your modulated voice,
unknown until now,
emerges from darkness,
ocean waves
in a rising tide,
from rolling deeps,
swelling in and out of caves
on a quiet Summer noon,
heaving with the heart
that knows private sorrows,
opens the tomb
at the urgent entrant cue to live,
and Lazarus comes forth
the dead, alive,
the lost, redeemed,
so it is to me
when you deeply inhale,
close your eyes,
open your mouth,
your music emerges
from everywhere,
and only you.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Every word is the fractal
Of a poem,
And the poem,
Whatever its mineral,
Vegetable, gender or personality,
Is a  fractal
Of the one divine  word
The single fractal word of God.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Simple Faith

There is a faith so simple
a slab of leather
may be lifted down,
as in a dusty library
one lifts down a precious
one hundred year old volume,
unlay the buttery golden folds,
cut and stitch by hand,
by lamplight if one must,
until a radiant pair of boots
fairly leaps from the bench alive,
eager to rush headlong out
to bless a barefoot world.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Diminishes

The Spirit and the Word
Commune together,
Diminish the one,
You diminish the other.

Diminish in word what mind abhors,
Then diminished is  hearing what Spirit implores.
The fear of the Lord
Is the beginning of wisdom.
Diminish by degrees  the fear,
Then diminished,  wisdom will disappear.

What a man first assumes
He will finally conclude:

His first diminished assumption,
About the Staggeringly Awesome Whoever,
Even after much study and thought ,
Approval of peers,
Degrees won, books written,
Diminished it is at conclusion,

Smaller universe a smaller understanding drives,
And diminished, all our lives.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sudden shadow of a hawk
Silences twittering

Some darting fly
Into foilage of denser trees
Others simply freeze

Sudden shadow of winter
Falls on my fallow field
Startled I measure
Mentally my pantry shelves
Empty space by thistles
My summer’s yield

And so when you died
The shadow of your passing
My startle
My freeze

Suddenly fruitful fields
Beckoning trees
Juggling trade
So futile seems

My soul sorts
Her traveling clothes
Godly themes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mary Magdalene

How full to overflow
this world is with your woe!

you saw Jesus seeing you
not as you were, but
restored and whole
as the yellow sun rises
on a new day

when He looked like that at you
His love could harmless swallow
toxic leaf and poison berry
of all the worlds betrayal

but what do I understand
there is a blight on this land

you washed his feet
in public with your tears
and dried them
with your long and flowing
graceful hair

gone were the sneers
bitter ironic laugh
biting retort of other years

gone old relationships stranded
on slime rocks
with junkyard dogs
goading and teasing
to vulnerability
then sudden emasculation
by deft symbolic slash

anyone thus disqualified
could take a temporary wife

but with this Jesus
you were undone
pattern broken
shards bursting
with new-pattern life

yet, when He so untimely died
were you not tempted to think
He had left you like all the others?

you hung around the garden tomb
you saw Him Easter morning
but thought He was the gardener
“where did they put His body?”
you asked

He spoke your name “Mary”
you melted “Raboni”
and worshipped Him
“Don’t touch me yet,” He said
“First I must go to our Father”

I know now
that’s how you knew
holding loves promise
He was yours
forever yours.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

By His Life He Prayed

Jesus prayed-
Did he not bleeding pray-
Save these my people;
If they are saved,
I am saved,
If they are lost,
I am lost."

Friday, March 23, 2012

From The Field

You drew me forth,
Planted me,
Then moved on
To another planet,
Another row,
One in a field of red tulips
Offered to the sky.

I found a rhythm in your words,
Lord of King James,

Rhythm in the tide of tears
That rises from earth deep
Through my roots
And spills,

Reckless rises fragrant golden oil
And red squandered blood.

At night
I am a censor swinging
among singing stars.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You Make My Days

You make my days to sail
On tranquil seas,
You send me messages
Of hope and love from far,
Bread is always on my table,
(Sometimes by the charity
Of your ravens)
My catastrophes
You always redeem,
My fears you melt away,
No wonder I pull torn curtains
Round my heart,
Kneel before the holy of holies
And pray.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Remember your mystery,
O my soul,
the toxic swamps,
your dirty hands,
their splintered nails,
cankerous warts on scaled skin,
shoeless feet below torn clothes,
mucus bloody-webbed
encrusted toes,
your heart an adder’s egg,
leathery, alive, unburst,
and always the distant
baying of pursuing hounds
with lusty thirst,
the law, its focused swords
untempered intent---
yes, someone knows
where you’ve been,
what you’ve done,
where you went.

A hopeless case,
yet a carpenter homeless,
a penniless Jew,
took your place,
down river in his coffin you escaped,
instead, pursuing law buried its hungry sword
with all the justified anger of God
in his offered side.

In your place he died,
but death could not hold such power and love,
at the beach where you stranded
was he waiting with fish and fire,
burst open your wooden tomb,
at supper your life began again,
as his:
your redeemer, brother, mystery friend.


Gone and back again,
yet not quite back,
I could not find the heavy wooden door
in the stone wall
by which I left the garden.

I remember it was a garden,
plants grew in rows there,
a community weeded between them,
watered and cultivated,
lived a simple life,
I among them,
But I followed my row to a stone wall
in which an unused door had been set
through which I ventured forth
into a world I thought I knew
but did not, had never seen,
where holiness is an unknown thing,
and does not have a name.

Returning, can anyone return?
I turned
When I felt the brush of a wing,
the concussion of beaten air,
startling me as if I had been asleep,
far off, a glimmer,
as I drew near, a sweet scent
and golden light in silence,
no conflict or fear,
a silence filled with choir
holding one chord like a candle
with steady flame
a canticle with no beginning, no end,
resonating with eternal life,
calling  forth dead Lazurus in every cell.
I drank like a dying man in a desert
from an overflowing well.

Then I planted poems in a row.
Dug them deep, covered them
and tamped them down.
“Unless the seed die,
it cannot bring forth fruit.”
I have abandoned them
 to the keeping law of ground.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Petal Of Pearl

A polished petal of white shell,
A mile from the sea,
left by ancient receding tide,
or dropped by the old predator, escaping.

How much data,
This opalescent slip of pearl,
How many gigabites?
My primative technology
Cannot print or read it.

I can only admire
This artifact of an old life,
a lost stronghold,
a birth, a death,
and all the poems
in between.

I find it while out walking
After rain,
Shining in the dirt
Wetly in the sun,
a scrap of someone's poem,
A life's labour, fallen fortress
Against the dark,
A stranger's polished shell,
A signature and His who made him,
Now mine to treasure.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Eden's Trees

In a rich green meadow with no company
Of a trail or road I saw
A post card church with classic bell tower
And steeple over the entrance
Freshly painted white
With a black shingled roof

Such a place where pioneering old ones
Might remember seeing horses and buggies
Waiting of a Sunday morning
For the final choral benedictus

Years ago two pine tree seedlings
Decoratively grew
One on each side of the entrance
But through years of neglect they
Had grown so tall as to dwarf
The little church and even its steeple

Their lower branches spread out
Blocking all entrance througn the door
(None shall pass)
Like those angels with the flaming swords
Blocking Eden's acess to the Tree Of Life

The congregation could not have returned
Even if they had wanted,
So quickly the forest retakes it's own,
And who down so many years
Keeps the silent building cared for,
So freshly painted?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Isaiah, John and Solomon

Who is living in a pretend world,
 Or to whom has the arm
Of the Lord been revealed?

To him who has,
More shall be given;
Have not?
You hunger,
For nothing of heaven.

Beware lest the beloved,
When you rise,
Be gone;
Lest a counterfit rival
Lead you on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Rooted in an empty ache,
Lurking deep,
Longing for the real,
Heavier denser,
Uncounterfitable thing,
Gold or platinum,
A relationship you can test
With your teeth,
Sink in a little and leave a mark,
Something the world will die for,
Cannot buy at any price,
You have seen it, tasted it,
The flavor will never leave you,
An embrace that changes you forever.

You are authentic now,
You are real now,
But the joy is deeper than mortality,
It has sunk into the Great Grand Know,
The ripples of its sinking leave
Those aching shadows,
Wet footprints
 In your eyes.

You would never trade or sell
At any price,
You belong to the Authentic,
He belongs to you,
It is not what you dreamed,
Both better and different,
Not what you wear,
But now who you are,
Simply who you are,
Resting in arms
No one sees or knows.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


For some reason I cannot copy and paste
a poem into Blogger tonight.

I assume there is a reason,
and deep in the root of it
is love.

I yield to this love.

Monday, March 12, 2012

By Their Fruit

Vine to grape,
Grape to wine,
But what of the thistle
With a pretty flower?

Shear the sheep,
Card the wool,
Spin it by hand,
Lumpy and thick,
Dye the yarn,
Weave a shawl
Attractive and warm,

Clear the pasture
Til the vinyard,
But what of the thistle,
It's brief flower gone,
It's spreading thorn,

"They are dry"
says the vinter,
"Dry" says the shepherd,
"and must burn."

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Abide with me,
though star be flung
from the sky,
words not be found to turn the comet
from its flight
on its appointed round;

Lord of the blinding light,
exploding sea,
abide with me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


There is exultation of snow
When it is fallen and silent,
All man's machinery

Silence in court before a judge,
Silence heavy as balanced stone between stars,
Distances untroubled by any sound,

The energy of your beating heart,
My love,
Spinning pinwheel galaxies
Forever outward,
The silent mystery of life made visible,
The universe agape in awe,

Every pumping convulsion,
Heart or nucleus or galaxy,
a million celestial cells alive,
motors in them turning out hormones,
data banks of their own DNA,
perfect working copies of themselves,
resonating with the silent mind of God.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lady Winter

If one were to pour
a handful of diamonds,
from one hand into another,
so is my river
this cold October noon;

It carries small cargo
of golden leaves;
steel-head trout
in its crystal depths;

there are announcements
of ice upon its banks,
Snow sends emissaries
in royal purple clouds,

Lady Winter soon arrives
with flurries of dancing courtiers,
comes to take
the healing waters
of my river.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pool Of Siloam

Even when you try, you can never go back.

Lord Of All Variety
moves differently today than yesterday.

He may stir another pattern wave
into the same pool.

Others are watching now,
do they know it was an angel?

the old power awaits the arrival
of His channel,
the old watchers have forgotten
why they are here,

it has been so long since the water
has been stirred,
why should the water be distorted now,

its placid surface reflects
our faces so well.

Song's End

Sometimes when we walk
at night
together in this wild northland
we hear
howling of wolves
raw wild desire
for mate
and meat
across phosphorescent
moonlit river

it dies at songs end
to a nuzzling whimper
the night listens
my heart longs
to answer

from wild blood anscestral
to memory tribal
falls faintly an echo
from night-slash by ancient
angel choir:
"Glory to God in the highest,
on earth peace
to men of good-will"

I squeeze your hand
draw you a little near
the anscestral,
the tribal,
the night now silent,
and cold,
and clear.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Idyll Of A Bootmaker Poet

He sits on a rock in a rushing river,
Words flow by glinting
In a muted light
From then to now
In froth around the sitting-stone
And on down stream
In wavelets round the bend
To forever.

He thinks salmon are poems
Fighting up the current
From the future

With his net hand-knotted
And too full of holes,
He crouches poised
As if to land a good one.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Boundary Stones

Men move boundary stones
They pasture flocks they have stolen..
                                  Job 24:2
God said:
“Do not move boundary stones”
Boundary of boundaries
Do not move

But new planets and stars
Suns and galaxies
Spiritual, physical,
Man finds every year

Boundaries move
The near ones gravitate away
Around far ones

The universal constant is stress,
Not petroglyphs
Scratched in stone
By the finger of God.

For man by his wisdom
Has rolled them all away
From under them now awakened crawl
Insects with one hundred legs
Scorpions, pestilence, and plagues
In devouring crowds of confusion
Loosed is Pandora’s collection,
No boundary anymore can hold them.

Salt sea air
Creosote and tar
Fish boats at dawn
Cast off from docks

Weathered ropes and orange florescent floats
Rumble of diesel and smoke
Rise of a sail
White foam wake
Fish boats underway

Mist and sailing gulls
Rusty tubs and spotless yachts
Wreck of low tide
On barnacled rocks
Pilings and paint chipped cleats

Smell of crabs boiling in buckets outdoors
Stabs of sunlight rifting clouds
Cleaving sheets of rain
And quiet water

Spruce and cedar
Step out from shoreline hills
Feel the sun
Raise needled arms

In winds that fashion change
Sea birds swoop, reel sea to sky
Ferries, mission-sent, cross the bay
Tugs tow barges loaded with rusted iron
Ships arrive after a night of fishing

Trawlers, gillnetters, houseboats,
Seals diving in wakes while deck-hands
Clean client-caught fish
Head for shore cafes, pubs, gift shops
Of weathered wood streaked with moss
Above driftwood wrecked upon rocky cliffs
Harbour scum floats on sheltered water
Among boats at anchor
Piled with gear,
Crab-traps, hoses, cables, and rope
Behind the floating breakwater

It looks like the old days,
Fisher families raising fishermen,
Honest work for honest wage
Satisfied peace at end of  day
Equilibrium with the sea’s provision,

But this industry really is for sport, servicing debt,
Visiting cruise-ship entertainment,
Tourist’s fish caught by dollars spent,
Wantonly thrown out at the dock,
Sink to the bottom in mountains
Beneath the wharves, waves, and rot
Unmourned, uneaten
Scavenger crabs grow sick at the putrid surfeit
Hungry locals, thwarted,
Eat beans,
Love, wiping her lips,
Tosses them her polished bones,
So moved are all the boundary stones.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where Mushroom Shepherds Dwell

In the rain forest cedar groves,
Where man goes, there also grows,
In his gathered villages,
A cacophony of roofs
Parallel to the shaggy hills,
Cedar shaked and peaked,
Cascading in multiples
Of slashes and brows
Like the forest  thick rich
In green moss sponges
That shed rain when they
Are finished feeding themselves
And all the varied leaf-mold life
They support.

Under them mythic mushroom shepherds
Dimly dwell, bright eyes
Under broad wooden brims,
Feed and worship and trade
With other races in hooded gear
And rubber boots
Who may be passing through.

Fingers wrap themselves for warmth
Round steaming burly mugs,
The conversations overheard
 like windy rain drops
Gutter running lively,
Far-ranging as condensation.

But gulls landed with no news off-island
of any consequence,
Nor even weather mattered much
As long as the ferries
ran on time.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Web 101

A poetry website,
Entirely of words,
A black screen,
No pictures, just white letters,

Words like headstones
On black lawn,
Or words seared
Through black-out paper
Over windows
That even the enemy can read by
Or see us intimately there
Through the smoking runes.

This the proper use of the web,
Poetry in the babble
Of every language,
Words hammered into lines
Serving hidden agendas of love,
Words twisted from the machine
Spun into garments
Of flattering splendor,
Let come what may,
Or what flag flies.

What I mean is here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quantum Concert For Advent

In the beginning
The violins were out of tune,
Indeed, there were no violins,
No tune.

The stage was dark,
No one could see,
The stage was not
Even in the building,
There was no building.

There was only the Maestro.

When He lifted His baton,
Nothing listened,
Nothing was ready.

No one saw the descisive down beat
Or heard the command:

Yet instantly
A stagelight
Flashed on in the darkness,
The stage itself appeared
In a concert hall filled
With breathless watchers.

The Maestro swung his baton
Again at the empty stage,
On beat another “BE”,
Instantly colours never seen
Exploded into a garden
Of flowers and trees

Music began
With tumbling  shore-line waves,
Chuckling brooks,
Wind in the trees,
Rising and falling
Like the breathing
Of a new-born planet.

On His fifth mighty swinging
Clouds of singing birds
Teemed tree and sky
Schools of fish
Swarmed in the sea.

Bird song rose and fell
In waves of leaf-rustling wind.

His symphony was playing well.

The finale,
Beat number six,
The commanding baton,
Crowning creative
Pronounciation of “BE”

Filled the garden with animals
Species and sizes, furs and hooves,
Paws and claws,
And then,

Then man made his grand entrance,
Cosmic rafters rang wildly,
Shouts and applause
That went on and on;

Two beautiful creatures
Strolling a perfect garden,
Male and female,
Mates in His image,

Each rehearsing a song,
Each with their own baton!