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.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Longing is a wind-blown feather,
wafted softly,
landed when disappearing,
distant sails of your ship,
gulls white wings winking,
setting sun reflecting,
vanished into sea-sky folding.

Now all creation groaning,
the kingdom yearning,
throne of thrones
empty till your returning.

How quietly first you came
to Bethlehem stable,
quietly, a candle
set the world ablaze.

Quietly by miracle amaze,
furiously craze the synagogue
who crucified you to their gnashing
teeth scream spittle,
wielding for God’s law implacable,
His jot and His tittle.

Spoiled death and decay
by resurrection.

Now you’re gone,

so much undone.

Longing, landing like a feather,
breaks the world,
lifted when I glimpse,
interim, here and there,
your likeness
in your adopted children.

Quietly to Bethlehem you came
but trumpted with shouts of men and angels
riding clouds of glory
you said the spectacle shall be
when you return,

and who shall stand?
my longing love,
who shall presume to stand?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Yearly Event

Natural fibres, clothing loose, with pockets
everywhere, well traveled,
hemp, icelandic wool, natural cotton,
unadorned voices, no jewelry,
nievete' schooled in ancient simplicities,
practiced and rehearsed
in a show of good nature.

Small gathering of friends,
shared social stratus,
appreciation of fine music
performed without pretense,
a piano, violin, two recorders,
Handel, Bach, William Byrd,
but especially Bach
colors laid on in thick
knife slabs of textured oil,
sounds only Bach of all musicians
of all human kind ever made,
whose secret rose and set
with his golden sun and silver moon.

Appreciative guests drink their wine,
chat in low voices and applaud
with friendly approval
in all the right places.

It is snowing outside,
the Christmas lights are bright
the house is warm and crowded,
no one wants to go home.

Monday, November 28, 2011


He sails with majestic stealth
greater than the sun
into the orbit of our understanding.

He wields fear
with the lash
of a thousand whistling dismays.

Flesh melts before glimpses of him,
dwarfing the sun in brilliance and size,
mountains dance and vomit molten screams,
cities topple and sink,
men flee as ants before the tiger torch
of his flame.

Day billows into ashen night
that smothers every breath,
bewilderment and confusion
spill from sophisticated data banks
of wisdom and understanding.

There is no hope but one,
Man I Am, Alpha and Omega,
and few there be that know
that they can know him now as friend
and so with hope endure
 the Great Consternation.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

By Mercy By Grace

From the black bitumen,
raise the phoenix fallen,
shine with your new moon on,
and smiling draw him,
wash him in your raining,
the scrabbling  Babylon king,
till he be clean.
manicure broken nails-become-claws,
wet with dew of morning,
Preen feathers of halographic poetry
send cyber skyward in sparkling
clouds of phrases
praises billowing
with your shekinah glory!

Friday, November 25, 2011

For Us It Is Time

A Greyhound bus depot
shares a waterfront city building
with a church,
open all day long,
staffed with exuberant lantern bearers
in Nanaimo, British Columbia,
ministering free coffee and donuts and more
to the ones with long stories,
bus travelers,
ones sent
to finally abandon themselves.

Over and over golden grains
fall to the scythe,
row upon row
the ripening laid low
at the welcome surrender.

For us it is time,
entire lives converging
in this constellation of singing stars,
God is here.
We come for Him by the busload.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Come Stumbling

come forth from the wilderness,
from your failure of faith.
What do you see?  What do you hear?
are you looking back? you camped here
before your children were born,
before they were grown,
you bathed your daughter in a blackened bucket
on this picnic table, under the sun.
years later,
you camped here and awoke  to a morning like this
with her children playing when they were small.

are you looking ahead,
will they camp here when you are gone?
drought and famine have not reached us here
but there are rumors on the borders
wrinkled skin, the failure of cherished assumptions,

yet every morning  rises Golgotha and the empty tomb,
eternal songs redeeming life,
a choral concert streams across the universe,
the  midnight miserere
the golden hallelujah!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Lamp, A Light

When history is unknown,
the neglected map finally lost,

when ghosts of old things,
dimly glimpsed,
flicker behind lidded eyes,
before and beside,

When we must commit
to choosing,
when a mountain path forks,
miles from anywhere,
no sign marking a destination,
no return to try again,

When our times are so modern,
no road less travelled
to lend a clue,

Then even at noon we need
your foot lamp,
a path more lit.

Your resonating word,
inner sign shining,
poured upon the path
in liquid light,
"walk this way"
brighter than noon,
undimming from now
to forever.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Barkerville, St Saviour's Church

In ghost towns of the world,
where gold is found and lost again,
men with dreams and hope,
greed or predatory bent
flash riot in migratory schools,
whip into a vortex of locusts,
boys with shovels and guns
break free,
adventure forth to destiny,
wild of eye in a  pack at the kill,
no balance of home
and faithful woman.

Yet the mystery
scattered among them,
of surplice and book,
another kind,
men who build churches,
who point to the sky, a cross on a hill,
who bury, build and bare
the wonder of it all in the mud
and freezing starvation.

The strange one,
who men turn to at the amputation,
gold gone or never found,
whose council comes
as balance and faint memory
from  holy words lived and spoken
to history's forgotten clusters
 of soaking tents and hopeless shacks,
untamed, unpainted.

In wild slag towns of the world,
a godly human soul
plants seeds of civility and brotherly love
in fields of desperation,
raising the extravagant luxury,
wonder of wonders,
a steeple that still stands,
a bell that still calls the conscience
from that age to this,
a building of rough-sawn weathered boards
made holy for worship.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On Willow Street

Moss clings to cedar shakes,
grows green in the rain,
mist lingers in treetops
like a solicitous spirit
incubating life
in a forest embrace.

A cradle woven of cedar and fern
encircles village cottage clusters
of wet weathered wood
along the pebbled shore.

Moss and I,
wanting nothing more,
have found a quiet home.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Asian Man

Like a monk in your sweatshirt and hood,
early in dawn and dew,
you bowed by the lake,
(everyone but I was asleep
in the campsites)
and groaned, I heard you,
and prayed aloud.
I dared not approach,

I, who came for an early poem,

you were crumpled
in your loose fitting cotton,
fallen in on yourself
folded over a picnic table,
as if God stood kindly above you,
I heard your soul pour,
and I wanted to ask you--
but I dared not approach or intrude,
I had been praying for a poem,
now I prayed with you,
forgetting my quest.

Suddenly you were gone.

Before I could gather
to suggest a meeting,
Simply you were gone.

That rough table will forever
be holy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

From Living Forest By The Sea

Thank-you for the storm of spirit,
the reaching cedars,
arbutus of  quiet water,
thank-you for sudden angel waves
sifting sand,
gulls soaring in the spaces
between your words,
and flowers shouting colors
in strange tongues.

Dumbfounded driftwood sculpted into graceful bodies
dance ashore to gather in the pavillion
between high water, waving grasses,
and clouds of singing Seraphim.

Tear my sails again, thou spirit storm,
be my rudder, my watermark,
my anchor and the rock
I wreck upon!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When You Traveled

What did you see?
I saw a city swollen with people,
days numbered in their hearts,
busy with coming and going.

I saw where the crowd gathers
a square filled with carven images
and idols of wood and stone
surrounded with many little shops
selling items of plastic and clay,
bright glass and metals.

Carvings were there of nude
mythical women nine feet tall
and seated Buddas
twelve feet tall.

People played sweet songs
on the wooden flute and guitar,
sat in the shade of trees
with comfort of ice cream.

I saw the keepers prospered
by thousands of little purchases
the pilgrims made.

There was a strange planet in the sky
drawing closer,
but no one noticed.

when I saw the prosperity everywhere,
I wondered where the poverty
might lay hidden.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Young Or Old

from earliest memory
your word has been my companion.
Before I could read the upside down book
in the pray-puzzled  afternoon,
by day or by night a star you were,
a beacon by storm or by rock or by drowning,
a fireside glow to build a home around,
shadow of friend,
feel of hand,
your touch, tears,
guidance, repentance and restraint.
Young or old, at your word,
I am always a child with you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stainglass Conversations

waiting for the tolling bell
stainglass resonance of brass
for cafeine to migrate from mug
to morning outlook
at the Willow Street Cafe
tide of spirit and water
bourne of fire ascending,
words like angels
between heaven and earth.

The fig tree stands in the church-yard corner
bearing Abraham's seed without number
overshadowing the town sidewalk
remarked upon by everyone.

The bell tolls and the service begins
light splashes in colors upon the congregation
then someone elderly collapses.

The service stops and everyone prays
while the ambulance comes.

Light flames up through the windows
splashing the sky.

Monday, November 14, 2011

During The Franz Lizt Concert, His Latter Work

A motorcycle roars
into the spaces
between notes, the graces
in a two hundred year old
musical prophesy.

I find its passage well expressed,
forgiven and perfectly foreseen.

After the biker,
the piano tiptoes away,
disappearing among flattery of fern
into a dark tunnel of trees
woodland mist swirls,

A nightingale sings.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bethesda Trilogy

Hiking to Bethesda

Wind sings,
assembling ancient words
in rustling leaves,
sentences already spoken.

A bell carved of rolled away stone
resonates like an empty tomb,
“holy, holy holy!”.

a flooding river,
a drowning,
a granite avalanche
exhaling “hosanna!”

An eagle soars
over shattered ruins
on updrafts of prophesy
screaming “Get ready!”

a broken high craig
wet with clouds of visitation,
an echo through the rainbow,
peak to peak,
wailing electric blues
of mourning,
trumpet reveilles
of victory.

I walk with you this valley town,
fallen walls carved
with petroglyphs
of gospel and doom,
doorways beckoning
with fealties of skin,
between all the smoking ruins.

       Waiting In Bethesda

we sit or pace or stand
by the pool of Bethesda,
we are the halt and lame,
the broken ones,
limbering our voices,
strumming softly
on battered guitars,
fingers drumming,
humming, singing
with cracking voices,
fragments of ancient verse,
stringing harmonic fractals
of experimentation,

waiting by the pool,
keeping watch day and night
by turns,
sampling the vacuum
for waves of the Spirit,
astral provoking
with arpeggios of exploration,

waiting in Bethesda
under the marble porch,
small among portico columns,

waiting beside the pool,
prayer rhythms
rising and falling,
breathing, sleeping,
by the pool where stars glitter,
the sun and silent moon,

waiting for the angel to come,
to stir the water in our souls,
scatter the reflections,
give us a living song!

        The Song Comes

Skimming vortex forth on seas of sound,
streaming from safe harbours of tradition,
winged sails fill with spirit winds,
soar over the harbour,
Bethesda’s agitated pool,
rising through startled flocks of brazen bells
in deafening carillon
from a congregation
of parochial belfries,
whose sudden commotions
scatter flocks of armoured predators,
heavily accustomed  to ecclesiastical feasts
of slow thickened blood.

Sailing weightless from Bethesda,
as one divinely called by name,
sailing swiftly from Bethesda,
as an arrow sent,
a radiantly singing bride,
her sparkling veil raining liquid fire,
sowing fields of blossoming light,
encircling in dizzy orbit
a dark bewildered world.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Concert For Two Hands

Send words, I Am,
skipping across blue waves,
send them shining, I Am,
through stain-glass parables,
colored crystaline analogies
uphill to the nest beneath the steeple
where Sabbath bells wait
to sound the hour,
incubate flesh long dead
to music.

Send words that sillouette
mysteries and draw them
from timeless shadow,
fleshless grave.

Send words that clothe them
in gospel,
preach them to gathered
field birds and passers by,
change the forest,
change the world,
make a way for rivers
between stones,
open mouths of earth,
let long closed caverns
resonate with song,

Perhaps a man somewhere may hear
and turning to I Am
be forever glad.

We are caught in the pronunciation
of your single word,
silencing our torrented storm.

Echoeless opus unfinished,
in progress,
a roaring wind,
a whisper
in which even questions
are silenced;
a lullaby,
a call to war,
a song of love,
a pouring of the sea
into a well,
endless as wind with no beginning.

All our efforts repeat
the fragments we comprehend
and mark us to one another
as friend
As we compare and fit our torn slips
from one great manuscript
unfolding as love.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

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
and spills,
reckless rises fragrant golden oil
and red squandered blood
I swing in a censor
among singing stars.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


He worked with his hands
on leather for boots
with his hands cut the leather,
glued, sewed, glued and trimmed,
and sewed again,

layers laid down
among deep shadows,
building and rebuilding,
sculpting softly, shaping an artifact
to human need,
A piece of entire human history,

layers poured and dried,
layers of culture
color and texture
stucco, gesso, stone wall plastered,
painted and cracked,
varnished and dripped
over every generation;

fires and wars,
dictatorships, cartels
clearing the rainforest,
loosening tethered souls
of sacrificed children, animals,

layers of caked blood, dried,
sanded with pumice,
clear varnished, watercolored,
crayoned and penciled,
framed, burned, pounded
with a hammer, eaten by beetles
to beaten drums of every age,
reclaimed by jungle whose vines
hold men by the ankles until they cry;

and so it was, overgrown in deep coastal forest,
buried below towering cedars,
he stumbled upon the side of an ancient building
oiled, layered, soaked in centuries almost black
hardwood with a gothic stain-glass window

some faithful one kept a candle
burning where no one but God could know,
glinting rich greens, yellows, blues and reds,
depicting some such pre-historic tale
as only angels tell--

he had met the candle lighter before,
small, her white hair tied in a bun.

It was Christmas eve along the Alaskan Highway
deserted for the holiday at thirty below,
his jeep running out of fuel,
every station closed,
every door barred and locked against him.

Death grinning in the back seat
wearing a festive holly wreath.

When he could go no further,
he pulled into a locked up station, his last hope,
and went for a desperate walk,
the layers of his life grown thin and brittle.

his jacket barely enough,
Not a window showed a light,
the village deserted,
gone to reunions, choir fests,
the sunny warm hearths of relatives,

when he came upon a tiny church,
a light burning, the door unlocked,
there alone in silence
on her knees with her back to the door,
one kneeled devoutly in prayer,
nor did she start at his approach.

she fed him, filled his jeep with gas,
saw him on his way;

thus the layers were applied, the collage
pasted. plastered, a choir softly singing,
filling the gaps, cracks between the planets
between the days making decisions,
gingerly driving upon parallel logs
spanning a broken ice bridge
crossing the Graham River
that midnight Christmas eve,

and the cloud of witnesses
misting up, another year
from another river
at dawn among summer evergreens,
singing at dusk, harmonica melodies rising,
falling, quiet winds.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Journey Prayer

we have come so far
from anger and rebellion
to this candle lit parchment
in a dusty document library
mysterious with words like "chastity", "modesty",
and "fidelity".

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.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Long Winter

It is spring, and the snow falls,
like it has fallen every day since November.

I eat my gruel cooked over a wood fire.

Every day I split the wood.

Where is my shirt of camel's hair,
the ancient beads I tell?

But I am comfortable and warm,
writing on my computer
made of worried stone.

The sun is filtered
through frozen clouds.

Above them,
Solar flares send killing rays
they say, and solar storms
are flaring now.

Oil fields burn with back smoke.

Tomahawk missiles whistle like arrows,
the earth quakes,
for a moment, the sea
casually abandons restraint,
washes our cities away.

The overcast and falling snow
are my armor.

My prayers to you
slice right through them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

From Under The Altar

 When all is said and done
at the end where the circle
begins again,
the buying and the selling,
the marrying and giving in marriage,
as in the days of Noah
before the flood,

when all is said and done,
and the Book Of Meanings
mighty tome be closed again,

will there be anyone looking,
expecting, watching, for
another door to open,
the clouds and sky to part
like the sea before Moses,

Will anyone not sating mindless
appetite, or lost in violence of blood,
look skyward with longing and understanding
and child-like trust,
ready to meet the master, Holy One,
on your return?

Or will you only find
a dead world to burn?

Fire rises from the coals
this frozen day,
circles licking round my fresh log,
tasting it,
then hungrily devours.

Who can tame this lust?
Yet the conflagration of each feeding
warms my hearth for hours.

How long, O Lord?

My love seeks living trees to redeem
and nurture,

summer voices sing to.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mortally Wounded

Pick carefully your battles,
husband your strength,
your culture could drag on
another forty years.

Mark the tree
you bleeding lie beneath
beside your love--
has stood unmoving there
two thousand rings.

Old Wind breathes into once again
its dancing summer leaves;
in His ancient foreign tongue
exhaling sings
secret syllable of breath
that second Adam raised
was it yesterday
from death of death.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Whatever you have done,
wherever you may go,
your life takes you,
from nights in stone church ruins
by moonlight,
to afternoons wrestling loneliness
in a curtained room,

take from me the best I have to share,
elements of Easter morning;
a loaf of bread,
a cup of wine,
an invitation to prayer,
a sinuous climbing vine
encircling a slender tree,

As I prayed fervently, writing this to you,
sitting by the river,
suddenly a forest patriarch
nearby, as if pushed by a giant hand,
cracked powerfully and fell,

a giant tree
shaking the earth--
amazed, i saw it fall, felt it,
not a breath of wind,
I heard in the cracking roar,
it was rotten to the core;

without warning, falling, all the
kingdoms of this world;

yet stands the best I have to share,
promises in him of bread and wine and life;

in all the dark chaos coming,
you shall be another kind of tree,
planted by rivers of water;
bearing fruit in your season,
your leaf shall not wither.
Receive this blessing
from one who blesses me.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Story of Ms Sally Doe

She bought her lotioned perfume
with the proceeds of sin,
bought it for herself,
a little luxury, a little something
in an alabaster box
for the wizened days that come.

the men paid, some dearly,
and she provided for herself
a little bit of her dream,
compensation for the shame,
the shame.

But then he came,
the dream in person,
the flesh, focused, restated,
the dream made holy even,
the dream whose fulfillment
now she knew, seeing it,
she could never possess by seduction
or put in an alabaster box.

He was a glory she had given herself to follow
before she had met him,
a breaking revelation pouring out of herself,
the broken stone leaking costly perfume
over him,
suddenly knowing she had sinned,
fallen far short,
and what it was, a breaking,
sinned against herself, her vision,
against the whole world.

She washed his feet with her tears,
with her perfume,
she knew her only hope,
his foregiveness;

and in front of all the men,
without shame,
he understood,
simply forgave.

In front of all the men,
without shame,
she understood,
was born again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Almost Fundless

Bus travelers in winter
are made to feel
like second class citizens
as they are locked out of the depot
at thirty below
between departures,
made to wander about
the frozen city
while hauling bags and sick kids
looking for a warm lobby
to invade since almost fundless,
In them one could see the holy family
looking for a stable.
I find a classy coffee shop,
over warm coffee and cake--
what is this feeling,
almost of guilt--
I write to you
from between worlds.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Teach Us To Number Our Days

The sun was golden and rising,
the gardens reverent in morning green,
draped in long shadows damp with dew,
the air was bowed and still,
and I found you in the expectant mausoleum,
templed of marble in creams and browns,
carved and ancient, a place for worship
and old sorrow,
a place patiently created for the one,
a traveler who might come to receive
wisdom freely given,
from an alms box open
to the reaching tattered soul.

I did not pass through,
I never left,
did not return to the old,
but moved in and began
to spend my days and nights
with you in your music
without any pounding beat,
that never pauses
even to breathe.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Trees Only Grow

Rain showers pass with banks of rumbling clouds,
thunder grumbles in the distance;
it is Sunday afternoon with the world,
all is still, but eager flowers
burst up from the ground
and busy swallows catch mosquitoes
for their hungry fledglings.

Sunday afternoon:
but the conscience of the world
is restless and uneasy,
traffic noises tell me,
crowded places to eat and drink,
burgeoning casinos.

Sunday afternoon:
leaves each with her own voice
rustle in the wind
surge like the sea
and trees,
for cradles or crosses,
only grow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Upon This Rock

Hard bones rise from edges of the sea,
slippery descending walls of stone,
smooth, rounded, grooved
refuge for tenacious life,

underestimated by iron hulls
wrecked upon them,
by waves of centuries
smashed upon them,
they rise, skeleton of the world
at low tide.

Not cultures, nor cities
in all their fine millenia
sail through them undestroyed.

What countless waves,
scouring sand,
wear of weakness away,

leave sculpted bones
skeleton of one unchanging,
original word.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Villa Montalvo

a Spanish estate
sculpted from California adobe,
red tiled roofs,windows deep set against the sun,
tiny panes, walls unpainted, golden,
tiles brick red, rough hewn oak beams
blackened by the seasons of one hundred years,

baking under the Saratoga blue canopy sky,
sun bathing along shores of manicured lawns,
peopled with valley oaks, junipers,
pyrocantha and sage;

marble sculptures, vineyards, arbours,
secret courtyards with fountains,
landscape terraced, climbing
into the Los Gatos hills,
slanted roofs resting at ascending levels
along winding brick paths,
every turn another page,
another aromatic scent
of boxwood, eucalyptus and sage,

leaves rustle, swelling in a monastery chorus
carried reverently by cool breezes
in the always burning sun;

every turn another echo of song,
music played, pictures painted,
chapters written.

Here a grand piano seen through
vine-framed windowpanes
in a darkened room,
there, an easel holding
work in progress;

Urns of stone,
overgrown with foliage,
sweet olive, purple plum,
stone benches for sitting,
wrought iron gates,
and fences ten feet tall;

Lemon trees laden with yellow fruit
stand on either side of a brick walk
framing a romanesque temple,
traces of the old empire even here,

a marble fountain,
four marble patricians
holding it between them;

a place of long history
rooted in Europe and native cultures,
the dreamlike story of old California
envisioned first by a teller of tales
in old Spain,

then dreamed alive
every generation again.

Monday, January 31, 2011

When Troth And Living Sacrifice

Everything in the following poem I personally witnessed last fall.  I was driving home from a nearby tiny country church in my motorhome.  Both the transport trucks and I came upon her at the same time at the bottom of a dip in the highway.  We all swerved and missed her and each other by some miracle, for which I am very thankful.   Friends ran out and hauled her away.

An old wooden church with a steeple
in a small village by a river,
Sunday morning, and a faithful five

One hauls on the bell
while stainglass windows
sing praises in beams of colored light
to the Good Shepherd.

The pipe organ swells,
bellows anthems
as it has for over one hundred years.

On a busy highway nearby
a fifteen year old girl in a white sweatshirt
spread herself face up
in the lane of oncoming traffic
waiting for a careless transport truck
to take her any way he would.

Two came growling over the hill at sixty,
she shook her fists to the sky--

Five saints attending,
some Sundays only three,
remembering when the church
was full of families
with fifteen year old girls
all dressed up,
and transport trucks
kept solemn troth nearby,

When one living sacrifice on Golgatha
had been enough.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

By Importunity

Quick as in the flicker of a candle flame,
carried down your street,
darkness leaps from hidden corners,
overtakes, then retreats again.

You will not refuse
the homeless who begs
for your Holy Spirit
more than for bread,

a lamp filled
with unflickering oil
diminishing not,
bannishing hunger forever,
at the last, you will not refuse.

Sea Stroll Request

When you walk along the beach
on the shores of your universe,
and you see a small stone,
rounded in waves and sand
from years of tumbling
in the surf,
polished a bit,
some colors showing,
I know you pick it up,
I’ve watched you,
rub it with love
between your thick fingers,
pocket it,
saved for your collection.

Someday when I have tumbled about
enough in storms and waves,
become a bit more rounded,
perhaps better polished
in your abrasive sand,
may you walk by,
and may I, lying here among
other stones and drying seaweed,
still catch your searching eye.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Your Words

    tip toe rain

        drops on silent dark water

          woodland pool dancing

            slippers lighter than wet

              going nowhere but in circles

         and random eights

      skipping more rapid than sink

            shimmering upon the pool

             stars in tremelos of light.

           so your words to my ear

           your brush bossa dusk

             your silver hallelujah morning.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Three Little Ones

All rivers run

All rivers run into the sea,
where dwells
the Storm Of God,
and Jonah
and treasures deep
of poetry.
                                                                           Altar Ram
 Abraham faltered not
nor blinked
when the ram upon the altar
caught his eye
and winked.

 For You

just a white dove
flying under a rainbow
against black threatening clouds,
wings twinkling
in the setting sun,

a promise for your eyes only
crowds around you
never saw a thing,
looking down at their feet,

as if someone may have
dropped a coin.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hold Me

Moses cut a slender tree
for his shepherd’s staff
polished it with tending sheep
in desert sands
held it at the burning bush
presence of the Lord

when cast down after
from his rugged hands
it became a snake
when taken back into his grip
it became a slender tree again

I am a staff
a slender tree
cast me not
Lord, hold me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking For Home


Where northern sea meets western land
purple starfish clump on rocks
exposed at falling tide

people, gulls, and eagles crowd
higher rampart bluffs among
sacred cedar trees

build hidden get-aways
hunch elbow to elbow
at the nautical neighborhood bar
claim every winding inch of shore

buy and spend
make love to ancient lore
spirits that rule in mist and rain
mystical bears, birds, and trees

whose sacrifice their children are
whose priests beneath a totem frown
in sweetgrass clouds intone
to sweep of feather, rattle of bone
gospel of death by gods
of elemental stuff

that Jesus died was not enough
he had to rise again

can this truth come
would there be room
to birth the God of light and love

without a virgin’s waiting womb
an empty lot along a cove?


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Get Us Ready

A shadow fell this perfect day,
get us ready.

We know sometime that we must journey,
get us ready.

Rumors of a mountain, river, cross,
Everyday we make a choice,
get us ready.

Repentance is for losers,
get us ready.

That one must lose to win,
take us to the end,
get us ready to begin,
get us ready.


Do you hear the shout?
across the world it cries out
“The bridegroom coming!”

arise, trim your lamps,
the night of sleep
is far past,
see a river of white robes,
each with an oil lamp,
coursing the rejected way,

a tide of glittering light,
silent feet
ascending tendril of shining mist
following a narrow road
none but the chosen know,
those who see it,
they will go,
get us ready.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Balance rock, Haida Gwaii

There is exultation of snow
when it is fallen and silent
and all mans machinery is overwhelmed,

silence in court before a judge,

silence heavy as balanced stone between stars,
distances untroubled by any sound,
the energy of your beating heart
spinning pinwheel galaxies
forever outward,

the silent mystery of life made visible,
the universe agape in awe,
every pumping convulsion
coming from the silent mind of God.

Saturday, January 15, 2011



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 knows.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sing To Me Again

Sing like the rise and fall
of winter wind at night fall,
blowing light snow
around my frozen caravan.

Sing with many voices
in spacious harmony
like an icy wind
from the mountains
scented with snow burdened spruce.

Sing light and clear
like the Aurora Borealis at midnight,
sing out from behind dancing curtains
of many colors.

Sing me a Klezmer chorus,
ancestral wedding veil
of suffering and grace.

thus will I be warm again
and sleep in your arms.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

For Such A Day Along North Beach

Thank-you for round rocks,
for surf that pounds them down
from broken shards by the ton,
piles them in sea cellars,
tosses them ashore,
stone-falls folding in the waves,
chips swept from a gambler’s table
with massive earth-bone rattle,
applause of stony multitudes,
witnesses to the grinding smooth and round,
polishing to colors translucent, marbled;

for couples, hand in hand, on holidays,
strolling by wonderful moon-mad waters,
reckless, overreaching, newlywed
collectors of beauty in gem-like family groups
scattered randomly on beds of sand,

the horizon, a sure promise
from that which comes to that which goes,
foam and clouds blowing free
when squalls sail by,
misty ghosts of galleons under sail,
at shrouded helm
toothless mariners winking.

For such a day along North Beach,
I thank you.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Only On Haida Gwaii

While camping on the misty islands,
at Kagan Bay,
I glanced up from my fire
and through lush rain forest trees
I saw a man
waltzing gracefully with a woman,
holding her close,
both dressed for camping or hiking.

I heard no music,
yet they dipped and turned,
swayed silently
as one soul,
on a moss carpet
among ancient cedars.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Shapes Prepared

sound of millstones,
light of an oil lamp,
turning hand crank,
whirr of a treadle,
tap tap of hammer,
unchanged from always mankind
for today and tonight.

prayer has filled empty silent spaces
in days not yet come,
they wait for us to arrive,
misting the shadows,
our shapes prepared
to receive us
as we will be,
not until then.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Be Still My Soul

 Exile is a clearing
in a foreign forest.

Find it down the stony path
from your door,
past the familiar
into the dark green trees.

Thick moss leads the way
followed by deep silence.

Suddenly a coyote calls
from the distant clearing,
and its echo,
anguished despair.

For you,
exile was the only good,
blossoming the soul,

though severed,
a brief flower
on a rootless stem.

like the Rose of Sharon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

To A Musical Nazarene

You are a gifted young boy
in a corner of the villlage market,

strawberry blond hair
to your waist,
dancing eyes,
t-shirt, jeans and rubber boots,

playing on your violin,
Bach from memory,
welling up from your soul,
soaring over the noisy crowd,

ignored by the people,
hour after hour,
setting the tone,
wrapping milling throngs
in old varnished
wooden baroque,

no hat laid out or tin can
in simple answer
to my inner question “why?”
no gleaming pools
along your woodland stream
for my grateful coin.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In A Small Wooden Church On a Small Island

Your words were objects,
selected from a library,
chosen, deliberate, borrowed
for a purpose,
each one you dropped like a gift
into a waiting hand.

Ordinary words.

Each word radiant
exiled to its sentence,
singled out as a gem
on a velvet pillow,
soft black silences enclosing
planet and star.

I listen as words grown soiled,
scuffed in overuse, careless disregard,
are washed, faceted, polished
and offered,
each selected from its own temple
outside the galaxy,
a gift,
every sentence
a glittering necklace strung,

trails of light
leading back to the Holy One.

Saturday, January 1, 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.