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.