Saturday, December 22, 2012

What Is Christmas 2012

Christmas is the celebration
of an assault of love
upon a universe that did not know,
not enough to care.

An attack on Christmas
is an attack on the very foundations
of eternally amazing love.

The deep isolating unfamiliarity
of outer space,
its cold unfeeling fact
is all that is left
without the assault
of Christmas love.

Meditate on the love
that brings our only

Christmas is the time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seeking You

There is a longing,
Originating on planet earth,
Tendrils that drift
Throughout the universe,
Seeking something,
Seeking you,

When you return,
Will you remember me,
We cry in other words,
confused as we are--
We love you, we need you,
Remember this beautiful planet
You made.

You visited once,
And left us Christmas.

You even live in your people
Who remind us of your personality,

Remember us,
We killed you
And don't know why,
We need salvation still,
This beautiful planet you made,
Remember us,
We need your rescue,

Our hearts were made for you,
Everything else
Is a memory shadow,
a broken template.
Surely soon shall be your return
and the new age begin!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Magi's Journey

looked for beauty,
found her and lost her again and again.
looked in places she had never been,
Found life in a stable,
A way,
A truth,
A child's hope,
Found you.

Last Night

In The Christmas Lullaby,
John Rutter's masterpiece,
During the cradling Ave Maria,
while the women's singing soared,
caressing the polished wood
and stain glass windows,
I heard Jesus joining in,
his gentle voice filling the universe,
felt his love for his dear mother,
for all the mothers,
and motherhood,
one of his
perfect Christmas gifts
to us all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Spring

I can take you to a spring
On the borders of an old lawn
In the Island hills,
Lost in bushes above a small pool,
A woodland pool
That revels overgrown
In repose of lilies,
Reflections of clouds
and never goes dry,
Fed by a seeping spring.

Above, this spring rises
In a small stone cistern
I stumbled across,
Now clogged with moss and dead leaves,
Branches, mud and forest mold,
beside a rusty lamp post
Deep in the trees.

Whose were the hands
That laid the stones,
The dream of it,
Who remembers the purpose
For which it was built?

Yet a debris fettered spring
Begs to run fresh again,
Boiling up from its caverns
Fresh and clear.

I remember asking ,
Those dry and thirsty years ago,
Of one in a desert, fasting,
He gave me a long drink
from his flowing crystal spring.

I have never been thirsty again.

Now contemplating this choked place,
Something of flowing
In me needs,
More than understands.

Something human longs,
Needs the world
A garden paradise,
Where every spring wells
Feeding streams,
Fresh and cool and clear,
Where no one ever thirsts again.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stable Studies

My little free ebook of Christmas poems, always growing a little every year called Stable Studies for December.  Please download and enjoy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


You squeeze cement like a sponge
Grace like oil wick rises
Storms of electrons
At your fingertips ignite
A quiet flame
The light of the world

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Seeds of beauty
Wait to germinate  in the fruit
Of consent.

Earth consents to the sun,
Dawn gladdens heavy hearts,

Water consents to the sky
Clouds silver shadow
The sea.

Shore consents,
Waves sculpt
Junipers and stone.

She consents,
A son is born
Who consents,
Saves all the world
Who will believe.

Such love, 
Falling of leaves
To Autumn's attending,
Eternal love,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life's Rests

Life's Rests
By John Ruskin 1819-1900

There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life-melody the music is broken off here and there by "rests," and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune. God sends a time of forced leisure, sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts, and makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. 

How does the musician read the rest? See him beat the time with unvarying count, and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between. 

Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the "rests." 

They are not to be slurred over nor to be omitted, nor to destroy the melody, nor to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beyond Me, This Empty Grave

So many of the people I love and admire
Pass lightly to and fro between dimensions,
Parting filmy curtains as if between rooms.

I seem a gardener for them,
Kneeling, kneading the stone,
Up to elbows in lime and sand,
Seeking a lost circuit
Mankind could use for a garden light
In setting sun,
In setting cement.

"Where have you put him?" they ask,
Meaning Jesus.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where the Aurora Borealis Sings

What I see up North,
That cold winter country
Where men seldom go,
Everywhere an unsullied profusion,
The organization of God,
A wisdom whispered from one day
To the next,
From  wind on snow mantled peaks,
Every night learning it
From the night before,
Mountains nestled in it's purity,
Valley meadows for elk and caribou,
It's gentleness in  rivers
of salmon teeming silence
Between stars.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Saint

You are a saint.
By this I mean you are
Fully realized,
There is a king in you
and a kingdom,
A Golgatha of broken dreams,
A Calvary of great love,
An empty tomb.

The Bride

There is a beautiful bride
Who is getting herself ready.
She is set aside and loyal
Kind and pure.
Her betrothed has sent her
many gifts.

She has not seen him,
Her lover,
But in visions and dreams,
She sees and hears him,
In stillness, songs of water
and wind, in paragraphs
From his letters,
And poems,

She sweetly believes
He is coming for her.

She practices patience,
Watches for signs,
Re-reads his promises,
And because he is faithful,
She will not be disappointed.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cowichan Bay

At Cowichan Bay,
On a hot day,
I sit in the shade on an old wharf..

Two Jamaicans are playing thumb harps, singing.

 Leslie is sketching.

Some friends are having a picnic,

The potter nearby is busy in her
Little shop,

 Sun is beating down on the sailboats,
Weathered wood,
 Driftwood riff-raff and rope.

 People stroll among the waterfront galleries,
Conversations  in low voices,

Men, with the sounds of tools
Cutting and sanding wood,
Work on their boats.

Sea is more blue
Than the quiet sky.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wings Of Light

Waiting in the garden
By reflecting pools of quiet grace
Below the  waterfall
Of endless mercy,
Among  fronds of ferns,
For little orbs of light,
Some have seen,
Flitting flower to bush
In an electric puff
Of cool reflecting fire,
Branch to grassy glade
On such  small scale.
When they rest,
I admire their wings
And tiny human-like bodies.
They look at me
From the distance
of ten thousand years.
"Where do you live?"
I think,
"Where are you from,
what is your name
in the Bible?
Are you cautious of me
as I am of you?"
We are creatures of the same
glorious God of all Light.
We bear His signature.
Lord, of all your mysterious creation,
 let me worship no creature,
none but you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Walking In The Sky

Walking around in the blue sky.
I've seen you and your friends,
Scarves and hats with tassels
Gowns and long coats
Streaming in the wind
Hair flying,
Strolling in the clear sky
Hand in hand,
Or on an arm
Leaning into the gusts.

Fast growing cancer diagnosed,
Walls closing in,
Stone upon stone
Colors intensely shine.
All this is new.
May I walk out with you in the sky?

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Supplicant

Businesses have come and gone
along the road from Skidigate to Tlell,
or fallen to gross disrepair and negligence,
but ocean tide still swells and receeds.

Along this coast highway,
sea wind blows and sun shines
as ever it has,
waves glinting or tumbling ashore.

The Haida Gwaii are still
radiant islands,
I am still called to pilgrimage,
 to attempt a memorial to the beautiful.

I raise my tent now,
in this moment,
a supplicant in your presence,
a mercy monger
in your mossy forest,
sitka spruce,
cedar and hemlock.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sitting By The Sea

Sitting By The Sea

Still the thirst,
Still the sound of fire,
furious in steel prison sweatshops,
mechanically labouring on rubber tires,
making the asphalt busy behind us.

Still the silent twinkle
over the grey sea
of gulls wings against
distant storm blackened clouds.

There is a fresh wind blowing
Memories with odour of iodine,
rotting kelp,
gull shattered shell fish,
on the receding tide.

The horizon calls,
It always calls,
Pause in silence,
The past is singing
Children carefree playing
On a beach.

Boats are running for harbour,
The weather is changing,
Rising wind has grounded the gulls.

Still the wind roaring in my ears,
Waves  dancing
With scarves of white lace.

Everyone runs for shelter
When they stream by, tearing sails,
Dancing with flying shawls
Of white lace,
Bare masted yachts,
Breasting waves.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I'm bogged down
Client by client
So I'm not getting my
Fields plowed, painted
And written into fertle farrows.

If someone else did the heavy
Would I be too busy
Managing and marketing
To notice the whisper
On the wind?

Time management:
Filling my basket
With left-over fish
After five thousand
Have been fed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


See by satellite telescope
In deep space
The two Greek letters
Alpha and Omega written
In the clouds of stars
How could we have
Overlooked a God
So huge

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Preserve, O Lord

Preserve in your people, O Lord,
 beauty and truth,
Love light that proceeds
only from you,
literature and music
 that so enriches
all our lives
with standing ovation,
Lest we descend,
slip and fall
into beaten drums
of drunken darkness,
gnawing our knuckles
and sleeping with the beasts.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Web

You wanted to be a great artist
You asked of your elders
one told you to gather a fresh
cobweb from a cedar tree
and wash your face with it
then would your ancestors come
and be in you the art you desire.

You gathered your courage
with the cobweb on your two
open palms
as you walked alone in the forest
and so trembling washed your face.

Then, as foretold, the dreams
Came showing you how to strip
the cedar's inner bark,
leaving it's life to heal,
weave beautiful hats and purses,
bowls, mats and bags.

I was in your tribal house
on your dedicated land
the river ran full and silent
and green
beneath the maples and aspen.

I felt there was a web
spinning about me,
a projection, an image
of mystery and pagan bliss.

I had nothing to say
and felt confused, confounded,
a little ashamed.

I felt I must slip away while I could,
I am here long term.
There will be another time,
Another day, even another person
to tell you another dream,
How we meet Jesus walking
Along the shore and what he says.

Perhaps your web will be ragged
And torn, then, at that time,
Your dark eyes weary with tears
Heart broken and bound
In a spidery cucoon,
Ready for the resurrection,
The healing Balm Of Gilead,
Ears open to the universal music
Of salvation's eternal love.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


The following is a prayer I wrote several years ago and has since been answered.  I just came across this in my archives and it encourages me to write some more!  I hope it encourages you, also.

How is it that in the industry of man,
to clothe, shelter and feed himself,
there is time for art?

How is there money
for resident poets, painters, and composers?

How can extra be found
in the labour and profit of man
for the richness of the aesthetic etherial?

Make me a place in your economy, Lord,
a little sea-side cottage would be nice,
for a poet and artist like me!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

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
and washes our cities away.

The overcast and falling snow
are my armor.
My prayers to you
slice right through them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Knowing Deeply

 I know
I’m talking to Jesus
not by face or gender
but by His nature
and by the scars I see
I put there
in His hands

Jesus knows
he’s talking to me
not by face or gender
but by my nature
and by the scars He sees
He put there
in my heart

the scars
are from different loves
His love a perfect lamb

it has always
been so easy
to slay a lamb.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

You Are

You are not a garden god
Smiling cross-legged in the rain
Under a backyard bush.

You are not two precisely
Measured eye-sockets
In a computerized
Security camera's scan
Of a passing crowd.

You are not a print
On my wall,
Or a snap-shot
On my media card.

You are a masterpiece,
Every cell of you busy
With self-sustaining,
Only a creator could set
In the motion of you.

Sadly so fragile a thing,
Even a video cam,
Followed back to its inspiration,
Or a garden god
With it's chubby smile,
Can diminish,
Despise, and destroy.

Put away the pixels and paint,
The brass, marble and ivory.

Let me be amazed at your individual life,
Uninterpreted by art, philosophy, or technology.

Let me be amazed
By what its busy firmament
shows me of Him.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Bakery

There is a small
northern pacific island
ninety miles from mainland Canada
where deep in rainforest mystery
along a narrow road of sand,
stands among spruce and cedar
a bakery-coffee shop
made of driftwood and logs

No electricity or town nearby
no running water
a wood stove always warm
baking bread, buns,
pies and muffins
all stirred and kneaded
in dim forest window light
by purposeful hands
of a kindly lady
with long grey hair gathered
and tied above her neck.

Someone else is always there,
sitting on the polished log slab bench
at a table made of split sitka spruce
polished and varnished
with a massive tree stump
rising through the center,
the coffee always on,
people come serenely
from beach dwellings
through dark trees
leaf canopies
to gather in friendly neighbourhood.

I know this is all true,
as I have been there recently,
wrote a poem,
bought a book.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Nook

Books Floor to ceiling,
Low voices comfortably chatting,
World music background,
An aura of casual refinement,
In a coffee shop with gourmet
Touches, home baked cookies,
Muffins all with entire
Health food store ingredients.

She is reading, he sits
With an earth yellow pottery mug
Staring out the window.

On the sidewalk
People pass,
Some for the island ferry,
The corner grocery,
Or for the yacht harbour,
Down the descending street.

A cool but sunny afternoon,
I can't think of where
I'd rather be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Concert Never Ends

Rain drips and drops
from my eaves
to Baroque violin and guitar

Fire crackles in my stove,
its chimney smoke
blends and folds
above my roof,
trims autumn’s ragged
low-hanging mists
in Rococo designs.

My lawn is littered
with wet leaves,
summer’s golden tones,
sounded and fading away.

Berry canes
along my garden fence
now stand stripped,
skeletal and shivering,
like unemployed musicians,
whose concert season
is done.

In musty cellars
of an ancient book,
I savor the notes,
sipping sweet
wine of their bearing

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Forests Of Trees

I saw forests of trees,
arms upraised,
dancing in a great wind,
before heaven descended,
and I was plunged
into storm-tossed
seas of tears

Fled time
and all his years,
ambition, deception, fears,
fallen face down
on holy ground

above me forests of trees
arms upraised
danced in a great wind.

as supplicant,
I worshipped among them,
on my lips
the  green taste of moss,
the sour of loam.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Skate Board Dancer

On Salt Spring Island many wear leather hats,
Broad brimmed, flamboyant, hand-made,
And each one uniquely appointed
With beads and feathers and bones.

A young woman, wearing such a hat,
With long hair, a vest,
A long full brown patterned cotton skirt,
Ruffled around the leather booted ankles
Sailed by as I hunched over a coffee
 On Lower Ganges street.

She stood on a skate board serenely,
Utterly silent and unflustered
In perfect control down a busy sidewalk,
Her slender, graceful form
Swaying and bending as she steered
Her simple soft wheeled craft,
In a music box ballet
Passing pedestrians,
A superior being from another dimension,
Gracefully sailing safely
Accross a street
Busy with cars.

She was a soul of grace,
In her long ruffled dress,
Leather vest and hat,
No effort, no strain,
Drawn along by invisible magnets
Until she vanished.

She may have turned a corner
Or slipped through a time-space portal,
But she was gone.

My eyes
Follow her still.

From The Centre

I watch
a wild wind tear
my garden house apart
that has stood against
many years of blown
snows and summer suns

flies jangling wind chimes
sideways in whirling snow
scatters torn shards
of this broken day
a roaring train
rushing late
far from the city
or steel rail
gusting on broken wheels

now even electric lights
but a wood fire
blazes in the stove
warms the house
heats water for soup
and tea

soup and tea
a warm fire
is this enough when
my world is torn roots
broken branches all around
my life flies shattered
in shards scattered
by a wild wind?

let me find this storm's
quiet centre
God my Saviour
once again.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Glass Bell In The Storm

The glass bell, it seemed like a glass bell,
Not for ringing, or for an African violet,
Or to grow an orchid, encase a clock,
But to keep the storm out from around my canoe.

A large glass bell at least 30 feet across
Lowered from heaven--
But let me start from the beginning.

A Sunday afternoon years ago when the children were young,
Sleeping with their mother in our houseboat
Tied up at the dock on Babine Lake
More than seven hundred miles North
Of the Canada/U.S. border.

I wanted space that afternoon,
I wanted a new perspective,
A conversation with God,
If He would grant it.

A peaceful blue-sky afternoon,
So I settled on taking the canoe quietly
And paddling to a point 2 miles up the lake.

On the west side of that isthmus
Of poplars, pine, alders and rocks,
I knew a small sunny bay
Where I planned to anchor alone,
Pray and write, maybe nap
In the bottom of the craft.

The sun shone, the water was placid,
Trees coming down from the surrounding hills
To lean over the water
Were many shades of verdant green.

Fish jumped here and there, trout after flies.

I rounded the point, anchored the canoe offshore,
And began to meditate, write and pray.

The sun was warm,
A family of otters swam by, loons called and dived.
I felt sleepy, so I lay back out of sight and slept.

When I awoke, it was late, time to head home.

By the time I rounded the point,
The wind had come up, the waves were high
The wind prevented me any progress as I paddled
Hard, just barely keeping my bow
Into the wind, or I would capsize.

I remembered the story of Jesus in the boat
Crossing the sea of Gallelee and how he fell asleep.

A storm came up and the disciples feared for their lives.
Jesus slept on.  They woke him and he said
"O ye of little faith!"
He stood up in the boat
And said "Peace, be still!"
The storm stopped,
The waves became calm.

I was desperate.
I laid down my paddle,
Kneeled in the pitching canoe,
Raised my hands and cried
"In the name of Jesus, Peace be still!"

Immediately a calm descended.

Not on the whole lake,
A calm only in about a 30 foot circle around me,
As if a large glass bell had been lowered.

I paddled in calm water with no wind
As the storm and waves shouted
In tumult just outside my circle
Of peace.

Can you blame me?
I paddled home in awe
with a worshipping heart.

Friday, April 13, 2012

By This End I Know

I did not see
your day begin
but by this end
I know
that all is well......

Through boughs of evergreen
I look toward
setting sun,
across an open field
cut for hay,
through river bank
groves of poplar, aspen,
and willow,
to purple mountains
rimmed with gold

river chatters
around rocks
in falling evening cold,
a pair of quarrelling
bald eagles
then, spent like falling arrows,
dive for home

Now a quiet watchman reigns
and calls the hours
with tiny birdlike voices,
stars on a firmament
of silence

until dark
when hunting moon
calls out her pack
and howling lopes
across star-shivering

Spring Is Here!

My Pond

By day a carnival of ducks
By night a serenade of frogs
Singing for love.

Stars and street lamp moon
Dance on the water.

At noon, blue sky
Glimmers with reflections
Of leaning maples,
Purple plums,
Rich rainforest cedars.

I wait for you
in the shaded gallery
of witnesses.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Long hooded days
cape enshrouded skies
gone your blue ice jewels
snow mounted
rare as diamonds

Exorcist of sunless days
come tread my cabin trail
leave your blue transparent prints
from sky to my cabin door

bring your brass-bound
lantern in your slender hand
like before
upon my rough-hewn floor
cast circle shadows dancing
ages ancient to our present time

in tranquility we’ll watch
while overhead
vast waves of clouds
break slowly
on an azure shore.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Visiting Friends

Fourteen people talked by the light
Of a single candle,
Shared hot tea and slender slices
Of a single shriveled apple,

Shared the grand experiment of faith
In a tiny log hut with a tattered family of talented
Musicians sixty miles off the Alaskan highway,
A short wave radio call from nowhere
At twenty below.

A wood fire burning smoky green wood
Made the barrel stove glow,

New moon, the stars were bright
That night across the Graham river,
Blue glowed the snow by starlight,
I heard a flute with voices singing
Praise to God, at midnight,
But it could have been angels.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trail Of Hope

The Altar is stripped,
hushing the frivolous spirit,
light through the stainglass
shines pure color
holy wonder
on the black shrouded
rough wooden cross

The temple veil was torn
beginning from the high ceiling
down to the floor
exposing the holiest of all.

There was midnight darkness
at midday.

There was a funeral
two thousand years ago
that we never forget.

It ended with an explosion
of ascendant life.

Now there is hope,
a way of hope,
a trail of hope to follow,
for us all.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vintage Of God

I clarify my wine by syphoning and settling
in dark cellars of time
pouring from one container to another
spilling dregs
keeping only pure transparent
clarified word
I pour you now as my offering
in cut crystal

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wind Dancing

He wept as he prayed,
great wracking sobs;
he had never wept in prayer
for anyone before,
(that an Easter leaf from death
should rise again)

Struck by otherness,
by the predicament
of isolated leaves on one tree,
each with a spring, summer and fall
of its own,
by the beginning bud,
the last ride down wind
to sail in golden death
on transparent singing river,
by the slip uncounted to a leaf-strewn  floor,

by predicament of ultimate singularity,
individual accountability
for the life one chooses to live,

By hope of resurrection,
life’s beginning and its ending,
how this does not belong to him,
his only how he dances
in the shimmering congregation
all summer in the wind.

Friday, April 6, 2012

By Words You Ride

I know you breathe
These words of intense
More than human desire,

Words more powerful
Than any others
Invented or uttered,

Because the feelings
You want to share
Are so overwhelming

That in their heat,
Brilliant light,
Simple syllables collapse
Under too much weight,
Systemically fail,
Seem so beast-of-burden dumb
As to be trusted to carry
So intense and precious a cargo;

Yet know that by breathing them
Word-riding into my Jerusalem,
Under waving palms,
By mystery of redeeming love
You so overwhelm.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


For thousands of years,
earth held its breath,
not daring to fully live,
fearing end of this life
only death

Till Jesus came,
was killed,
three days later
rose again

Universal dreamer,
your question killed,
now is your dream

After bloody Sharon’s rose,
vast forests and fields
spring white lilies
of resurrection.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Scarlet Yarn

There is a thread of blood
running red yarn,
slipping down shun faces,
Jericho walls,

through pages of man,
flowing annoying string,
down thorn-planted brows,
rock-beaten skulls,
bowed in submission,
in love stronger than death,
flowing from caverns and prisons,
tables of torture,

great scarlet skeins
filling gutters and wastelands
down rough broken ages,
ministering healing,
a silent midnight nurse,

stitching Autumn leaves
scattered by cold winds
into libraries of volumes, leather-bound,
ephemeral made triumphal,
chronicles of real people,
surreptitiously by candle-light,
worthy to be read.

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!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Morning At Babine Lake

I followed a narrow leaf-strewn trail
Down from my campsite at Babine Lake
To the placid water’s edge.

The lake covered its secrets like a mirror,
Smooth multi-colored stones cobbled its shallows.
Birds warbbled and gossiped in busy cacauphony,
A flicker rattled a tree trunk, a grouse drummed his passion,
A trout lept with a splash, loons sailed fishing by,
A moment of reverence,
One met me eye to eye and flew,
Wings beating in labourious panic,

Moments of meditative silence,
Nearby, a quiet family of ducks,
Peacefulness torn remotely at distant edges
Like mist when
Somewhere a squirrel scolded,

I sat on a gnarled root at the foot of a great life,
A cottonwood tree, very still, growing there,
A gnarled man, a poet watching God’s world
From a window in his poem

Life is for moments like this,
Thoughts leaning branches,
Reflections undulating upon gentle

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To You, My Faithful Reader

I would like to break into this flow of poetry that has poured out onto this page for well over a year and thank all my readers for your faithfulness and patience and dedication to the reading of my poetry.  Both to write and to appreciate is a gift for which we can always be thankful.

I have just published a book (the first of probably several) as an eBook collection of the poetry that is on this blog and some that you have never read before.  This book is the equivalent of about 100 pages and is called "Collections From A Forest, Volume I"  In the next few weeks it will be available at all the major ebook retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, etc.  but for now it is available at the publishers for 99 cents (the lowest price they will allow)  at

I would love to make it so my poetry can be given as a gift, I find it is more easily read that way by those for whom poetry may be a strange and different form of expression.  If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!

I intend to keep this blog going, as a poet is what I am, and poetry is what I write.  I have enough written material at this point for about four more books and I write almost every day.  Your comments are always appreciated!

be blessed,
charles Van Gorkom

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rain Forest Full

Slow lament of single
Plucked string of banjo
Resonates like rain
In these forested
Haunting silences.

Piano notes gathered on leaves
Distilled from musical mist
Fall from scales
High above my head,
Feed moss minuets
At my feet,
Tumble among stones
In fugal streams.

Open throated
Calls of worshipping
Alto flute
Breathes darkly among silent
Dripping rain forest trees.

Far away, ocean waves
In mighty hallelujah choruses
Then recede in tidal
Forsake the sandy shore,
Leave no print of the score,
No record of even
One listening soul

With this emptiness again
 I am made full.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Soldier Songs

Goodbye lurks everywhere,
different kinds of soldiers
marching into different kinds of war,
behind them a devastation of closing doors,
guarding memories in bottles
or velvet lined oaken chests
against predation:
goodbyes try to steal one from the other.

Sitting alone with his kit along a river,
at his campfire,
he sees her dancing again in the flames,
somewhere he is flickering in hers,
another goodbye stretched taut and thin
as a long low howl in a sleeping forest
at midnight.

He looks at the mystery and misses it,
the question and the answer,
setting sun on the water,
the bright eagle soaring.

He will remember a distant dog barking,
at his feet water softly lapping,
days getting shorter,
menacing tyrannies
crouched upon the border,
a campfire burning,
a prayer wheel slowly turning.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quantum Prayer

When we lift our hearts
the light within us
that has become scattered,
even destructive,
is made coherent.

Many waves,
discordant colours,
opposing vibrations,
unify in harmonious

When we pray
after the pattern Jesus gave,
rescued from random,
we are healed,
body and soul.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Speak To Me

Speak to me in the subtlety of a perfect day,
The heart-breaking with thanksgiving tears
For the sun-warm, sun-green, water-falling,
Buds-bursting, bird song in the mossy branches,
Life-sharing, silently parted
Symphonic honey dew ripened lips,
Unspoken sharing of a single
Tree ripened sweet plum,
Tongue-shaped word.

Speak to me intimately
In the language
Of a perfect day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


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."

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,
an ancestral wedding veil
of suffering and grace.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Robert Louis Stevenson

Eighteen eighty-nine finds you
with the king and princess of Hawaii
at a luau in Waikiki

there are more than eight
at the table
king Kalakua, princess Liliuokalani
and you
gaze at the camera
royal eyes veiled
yours measuring
your face tuberculosis thin
reaching for another paragraph
or verse within
as others reach for roast pig

words place you there
title and crest you

words that fall in you like rain
collect in the deep
pools of your eyes
steep sentient solitary tea
sound seas
probe jungle deeps
walk beaches beneath
tangle-rooted kamani trees
explore the darkened soul
shadowed curse
brown girls in grass skirts
Oxford primitives in starched shirts
grizzled sailors
domiciled in grass shacks

you sit sallow
in your canvas chair
thread words like shells
weave air

rule written centuries
with a pencil

Chemainus Garden

Still is green water
From which lilies grow.
Still are lilies
Embracing sky.
Still are reeds,
But a breath will bend them.

All is green and shades of green,
But the pearlescent Lily,
Pink and white or yellow and red
Candles sculptured on green velvet.
Floating flames,
Waiting for your opening eyes,
For the ravishing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

After The Earthquake

Stinging gnats, scorpions,
Deceptions, illusions,
Harmless entertainments,
We are weakened,

Until none can survive
The collapse of buildings
Anywhere in the world
With loved ones buried,
Instantly under shattered
Tons of concrete.

For that, one needs
A real living God.

All those who will
Are called upon to pray,
Those who can
Must dig.

Candles we lit with love,
In a trembling moment,
Plunged beneath
A stony sea.

Let all tears,
Even our animals weep.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Every Seven Days

I wait in the hallway
with the choir,
wait for the morning
processional through
the groomed church-yard,
then the low arched door
into the sanctuary,
the pews filled
with people who carry lamps
in their souls,
older people, mostly,
soaking in light filtering down
through arched stainglass windows
upon the earthen tweeds
unvarnished woodwork,
wrinkled skin,
with transparent overlays
of blue and green
golden and red.

The brass bell
resounds from the steeple
over the town by the sea.

We line up for the service,
the organ fills and swells,
we sing the processional hymn
as we walk to the choir stall
down the centre aisle
between the rows of people,
the priest in his robes following.

Not but for love,
never but for love,
so the service begins
every seven days.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Poet Wakes

To graveyards now
Where bones of poems
Restless sleep
Cradled by thornful
Hedges of neglect

Shadows lengthen
Pulled from westering sun
Til fallen night is come

And feathered vowels
In crooked oaks
Mournful watches keep
They moan
Rustling consonants of leaves
Sighing inspiration blown
With moonlit ivory
Clatter of dry bone.


You want to draw and paint
muscles and nerves
in naked skin
clean of all blood

Manifesting female one
as beauty alone, sans lover

I agree--
aesthetically speaking,
blood, when spilled,
is messy as sin,
yet, ugly thus,
needs beauty begin,
divinely other.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Poet's Prayer

Let my words
eddy ebb and flow
with currents of tribal sea
streams of light
threads of blood

let them be marbles
in the canyons teeth
rolling in the mouth
of swollen flume

let them fall with rattle
and battle roar
unharnessed tides
surging after the moon

at war with all
but the canoe
threading upstream
between skirmish
and silver beam
paddled strong-shouldered
where river churns
by Desire and his lover
Gentle Dream

til an island
where tall pines
shelter a cabin

in whose window warmly
an oil lamp in darkness

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scrawled In The Book Of Hospice

I have been called
to the bedside
of a dying dream
with Jeremiah
who was cast
into a soggy well
and with History,
the Director’s shadow
that cannot be driven away

A waltz plays
behind a curtain;
thoughtless dancers
trample little ones
guilty of being gullible
and poor
but this is all a dream
and it is dying

one by one the patrons
cannot pay
soon the band
will fold
and put their instruments
we’ve seen it all before,
now everyone
is gullible and poor.

Those who will prosper stay
to offer gathered sticks and fears,
wild figs
and wait upon the Lord.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shell Swirl

I see the swirl of your life
in this shard of shell,
in the marble of this sea-polished
your endless energy shines.

I hear your voice in the pound and
diminishing symphony of sand,
each wave collapses
in salty forte’-diminuendo.

I feel your caress in the wind,
steady provision of radiant sun.

So what of these gathering clouds,
the rain?
They come and go,
in your circuit
return again,
forest mosses green and grow,
here, in another shell.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Life Is Art In Cowichan Bay

Smooth-sanded and oiled,
this marine varnished morning,
the sea still as glass,
Cowichan Bay
reflects the encircling
enchantment of wooden boats,
hand polished and painted,
bright in the early sun.

Reflected mast and boom, cable,
hull, cabin and spar,
still upon the water,
shimmering, a retreating dream,
at once clear and remembered.

From my window
in a cheese and soup shop
on a pier built out over the water,
I see houses on floats
every plank, shutter, and painted planter,
window and wooden latice reflected
in the mirror.

Sea gulls pose
as porcelain angels,
statues of themselves,
on pilings rising from the water,
traditional, well tended
wooden boats, old retiring fishermen,
nuzzle wooden wharves, sleeping
each with his double.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine Scribble To My Wife

for us, a gift,
the scribble of love,

curved and straightened,
joined, intersected,
bone combed,
fearlessly curled,

entwined, overlapping,
hand brushed, caressed
plucked, crushed, treaded,
bottled like wine
in circles, sailing swirls,

braided, plunge twisted
poured from coiled rope
made of twine,
our every written line,
tied, knotted and tossed
spinning to its own music,

folded on itself, unfolding,
pounded in damascus steel plys.
holographic snarl of two,
impossibly tangled,
inseparable, undivided,
flowing in love’s scribble
we are coincided.

Friday, February 10, 2012

He Has Friends

Man's epic struggle with fate
assumes there comes a man or woman
strong and heroic,
maybe many of them,
beautiful and tough minded
enough to beat it,
to win over all the odds,
defeat the gods,
--and there was,
but we are not tragic fate,
ourselves we killed him--
and horrors--
he rose again after three days, sailed away
and will return
only for his friends,
he has friends,
yes, he has friends.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

To Be Made Again

You made me, when mist
hung low on the mountains,
every microscopic droplet
you suspended,
encased every branch and twig,
every needle on every spruce
with crystal frost,

You made me on a night
when moon shone on sculpted
rounded every stone and craig
with shallow valleys
of drifted snow,

this was your promise
to the universe,
that you would shelter, shield,
and cover me to surely grow.

When I fell through the ice,
or lost your trail under
the northern lights,
or stormed from my warm cabin door
without a jacket to snowshoe
in the sweaty moonlight until I dropped
in self pity and despair,
you would be there.

I even heard your angels sing,
opened my eyes to find my table set
in the middle of wilderness
and I dead centre
in a ring of music and light.

The universe has watched,
you have kept your word,
you led me not into temptation,
you delivered me from evil,
but I searched it out,
I studied the stars,
forbidden books
in the library of constellations
of my own heart,
and found it anyway,
the Lost City,
faded myself there where only you
could find me, my tracks
erased with freezing rain,

yet still on a silent night like this,
a star of hope shines
over Bethlehem,
and I know I am found,
you will make me again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 2012 Looking Back

It's only been a few weeks and I can see
already, I can see
that what was day to day ordinary up north
under a loving sky,
I should have recorded more.

 Like the times between my porch and bootshop
when I met a bear or a wolf,
the time I was laying under the truck
working on the wiring system
and foxes crept up to attack my legs,

The geese in Spring and Fall migrating
in formations, the eagles and grizzlies
and salmon  thick as fireweed
 in the crystal mountain river,
(you could snare them with a cast hook,
with a dip net
the ooligan running up from the coast,)
the raspberries and gallons
of home-made wine.

Always surrounded by snow clad mountains,
solitude always your companion.

Splitting and stacking firewood
at forty below. Shoveling endless snow,
trapped by it.

The river breaking up in the Spring,
ice moving powerful and slow
like battleships
taking out the giant cottonwoods
and poplars.
Flooding with angry mud.

My shop where I made my living
as a bootmaker by hand,
was ten feet by thirty,
floor to ceiling shelves full
of materials and supplies,
tools and projects for survival,
windowless for warmth and security,
heated by a wood pellet stove.

I worked diligently in there for twelve years,
and other tiny shops 30 years before that,
fed my family, traded on the market
using the internet when it came,
and built up my small fund.

But everyday was so ordinary and usual,
the sun set in winter at four p.m.
and rose at eleven a.m.

Or hardly dipped down in the Summer.
The garden exploded from the ground
and could be harvested in eight to ten weeks.

What about today near this southern
Canadian city?  It is ordinary too,
but different,
and needs to be written.

I still make boots and shoes
in a little shop, nicer now.

Here we walk to town,
so ordinary and social
under a loving sky,
for coffee and a little shopping
every day year round.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pattern Of Jesus

You will learn to love me,
then I will die.

You will be devastated,
then I will rise again.

You will be dumbfounded,
then I will leave you.

You will feel abandoned,
then I will fill you
with my Holy Spirit,

Love, joy, peace, patience
and self control
will spring from your heart,

you will wait expectant,
victorious in hope;

Many years later,
I will return.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Over Bethlehem

A star,
a luminary seed,
a guide, a watchful eye,
a signature on a letter
of legacy from a father,
an umbilical termination,
withdrawing as a mother
slips away, closing a door
on her sleeping child,
swaddling him in the safety
of Mary and Joseph,
his friends,
and all the troubled pharasees.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Peace Like A River

my ears are open
to your voice, but
I hear the river,

the buzz of a mosquito,
the mechanical sounds
of a distant highway and homes,

listening for more,
reading a psalm,
praying a prayer,
my head filled
with the sound of the river,

strange how my heart
gently rocks in the musical water,
filled with peace .

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Woodland Shrine

I know a large lily pond nearby,
in an over-grown garden estate,
a small opening in the rainforest.

A secret place,
with reeds congregated
here and there along its mossy marge,
ducks on its placid surface,
golden fish rising from dark depths,
an arbour-like structure beside
 with vines upon it,
airy, a framwork like a foreign shrine
from another century,
of ancient mossy wood still hard and solid,
assembled without nails or screws
with the  image long missing
on a central seat looking out over
the blossoming lilies.

 Three times I have sat
 perceive me charitably)
in the place
and tuned into a sense
of  lost lordship
under the Lord of all,
sought another perspective
on what may have been hidden,
lost or displaced,
what could be reclaimed.

From there I could pray
for the whole world.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pilgrim Song

Because of famine
in my desert Caanan
I have journeyed seeking
to a distant land

you are Goshen
my green garden
in you I feed
grow satisfied

when foes that pillage come
with flashing fears
slash glittering blades
in dark shades of terror
wielded by pouring hoards
of fang-fallen fright
blood-bound to enslave
bind me in chains
to exile drag

you are my Ramoth Gilead
to you I pleading flee
within your walls of refuge
there is peace

with love unwrought unyielding
your iron gates
protect those helpless ones
you gather gracefully

around your undying fire tonight
accept my grateful pilgrim song

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Was A Sailor

I was a sailor
when I met the Fisherman,
my shadow until then
had not been darkened
passing through a nave
to where the candles
ever burn.

I had worn the tattered cloak
of proud entitledment,
even though, as now,
I sought for poems

How my sails like wings pursued
the retreating horizon!

Mainsail and jib,
my exaggerated shadow,
barely perceptible,
projected upon them.

But my thoughts circled
with all my generation,
and we landed where
we had begun
on tiny Destitution Island.

But Love came trolling,
in his slow boat,
one day, ever trolling,
and rescued me,
a refugee,
His ancient craft filling,
ever filling,
with ever  room
for only one more.

And so you find me here
as an old friend,
leaning at peace,
beside your answered door.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From Poems For Change

Once upon a time was too often
when full moon splendor
came only once every thirty days,
So I looked for you
in sunlight by the sea as well
as in your book of chosen words,
stones cut and chiseled
that surging breakers dash upon
lifting spumes and misty
rainbows in worshipful display.

Your sunlight, salty sea,
your words like walls
the watchful walk upon,
not only when stars sing,
but in the green moss
at mother's soft breast,
babe whispers,
lisping your name.

I heard your voice in the wood-cutters song,
a bamboo flute
by the brookling waters fall,
felt you at night between stars
in the cradle of my beginning
because once upon a time
is too often
when full moon splendor
comes only once every thirty days.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Old Friends

The telephone is still,
has not rung since seven bells
tolled away another day,
the wood stove companionably creaks,
heavy rain falls on the roof,
drips from every eave and cornice
of my life,

water that finds its way to the river,
hastening to the sea,
this afternoon shimmered
in blue and green opalescence
sent crystal waves with liquid voice
giggling upon the shore at my feet,
lapping, murmuring intimate tones
with old friends
gnarled roots,
mossy stones.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Overheard In Prison

"None shall deliver you
from my satanic pleasure,
Your lover shall never come."

"Yes he will."
He said "The moment
it is time, I will come."

"No, you bleed for nothing;
can't you see?
deny him and escape with me,
your lover will never come."

"He shall come wading
through bloody mist,
yes, though deeply, wading deeply,
and I be a flooding river,
hope you can never take away:
my lover will come,
then we shall together be
free of you forever!"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One Step... Two Step

You have seen a vision that consumes you,
fumbles you for its words,
lightens your eyes, quickens your breath,
For you saw him walking along the border,
a white sandy beach between the painted city
and the rocking cradle of the tsunami,
through a tumult of rioting definitions,
some that would kill him there if they could.

He walked serenely through them with quiet disregard,
open faced and clear of gaze.

 He caught your eye and held you locked in his visual embrace,
heard him call your name, filling your mind with the sound.

Your questions vaporized to utterly nothing.

He  filled you with knowing deeper than you  know anything else,
subliminal revelation deeper than language,
 books, if you could write, the entire world could not hold,
all in silence, in the midst of the storm he strolled among,
you saw him catch first one eye and then another.

Your turn came and like them you are sent:
"Write the vision that he who reads it may run."

Commissioned, the calling is upon you,
and now, in your own tumult through time,
remember the vision, as you walk that same shore.

His river bears the words you seek
"write, for this is faithful and true:
Behold I make all things new."


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not Soon Shaken

Tender you are, my friend,
to sympathetic tremble
in vagrant frequencies
ariel vibrations
wafted fragrances of disprit loves

Thus your mooring, hand in hand,
need be gripping strong
the Rooted Ageless One.

Leaves of quaking aspen
flutter blinking gold
late summer long
in lightest breath,
souls alive in symphonic
solar wind.

Yet comes frost to the shaken
stems let go
not forsaken
fertile mould upon the forest floor
so deepens
leaf by briefly  Autumn taken
singing leaf.

Friday, January 27, 2012

An Island Of Our Own

Lights are low,
rain is falling,
forest duff is sleeping
while sky-water capilaries,
seeping, feeding, soaking,
nurture the forest
in readiness for another spring.

We meditate in sheltered
shadows resting
with tall trees and fauna
who never wonder
whether more is to be done.

We may stir the fire
pour a steaming cup,
settle back with a book,
the eaves and trees
are dripping,
rain barrel beside the steps
until returns the sun,

we simply occupy a place by the fire
in diplomatic immunity
on an island of our own.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


A medieval junco
in his homespun brown jersey,
black cowl,
squats in my riverside
mountain bird feeder,
with yellow beak
pecks at seeds
I put there yesterday.

Intent on his little life,
does he philosophize,
ruminate as I do
about past and future,
the meaning of it all?

As my eyes fill with him,
he grows fat
on cracked corn.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Notes Of Words

with cup stains,
coffee or wine,
small scatters
with silences between
where meanings hide,
while a rock band tunes and warms,
enlisting a wild drummer to cover
the second rooster crow in frenzy,
the denial only the waitress heard,

then turning to watch
a live stage show,
accept a plate of counterfeit,
 a glass of bubbling ale,

while back of the hall,
behind the lights,
a quiet murder by crucifixion, then
three days later a storied resurrection,
witnesses keeping scattered notes
buried under pages
by scholars,
or cups of coffee,
or bread and wine,
hence the stains,
copies passing hand to hand.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


There swells in the far North
a slow sea,
an imperceptable rise and descent
into grinding poverty
harvesting rocks in fields of dreams

a land aloof, nevertheless in beauty,
that cannot bear much company,
settlements scattered and small,

and lowering nimbus overall,
with smoldering smoke from cooking fires,
heaving like the mountains heave,
moving like massive glaciers move
in winds that only stir
the surfaces of things, leaves and twigs,

surge fathomless tides of melancholy,
floes of motionless joy,
the sound outside on a frozen night
of a single violin.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Northern Midnight


Not just holy-habited virgins and grey wolves
sing winter nights
swinging pendulant melodic censers
over dark forested hill and vale

Sometimes when the moon is full
scintillating the snow
is heard not just heart as it sings
and sighs
for answering heart
answering eyes
to share the rising vapours in the cooling wood

Sometimes is heard
wafting mistily through cascading shade
of silver sorrow
softly pleading
cadenza by cello
troubadour of ancient continuum
themes from the finite
predicamant of eternal soul
sonorously ascending melodic curtains
of colour in phosphoric flame

Then falling elegaic phrases
drop dead loved one’s names
timbre tearing
down aurora borealis in flowing fugal
tapestries of red silver and greens

Cello choirs by moonlight weep
in concert with virgins and wolves
streaming faces lifted from the rubble
of the world
in prayerful offerings.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

North Songs Of Hope

The fierce North Wind outside
sings lullabies
with Snow Mary
for Ice Baby Jesus
swaddled warm in caribou,
lying in a sealskin bed

Flakes fly all around,
moths with crystal wings
flutter in kennel fish-oil light,

A choir in my stove fire
sings “glory, glory, glory
to God in the highest,
on earth, peace
to men of good will...”

Across the moonlit snow,
tracks of wise men in mukluks
go, seeking Him the star
who parts sky-falling curtains
of colour
legended by ancient tongues
orally passed down
from prophets of old:

“The hope of all mankind has come,
Jesu the Saviour is born,
Jesu is born!”


galaxy garden

where frustrated
flattering dark lord sprang
with flashing sword

where son of grieving God
sweat drops of blood
gifted his father
“Thy will be done”

by gentle “I am”
mobbing minions
backward fell

by syllable rubbled
castles of hate
shattered shackles of hell

by love swung wide
his city gate

by Spirit solo violin
invites us in.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I Timothy 6

Birth is at the gate of entrance,
Exit is at the gate of death..

we brought nothing into the garden,
when tenatively we came,
children's voices inviting us to play,
we can take nothing out when we leave,
angels voices drawing us from autumn's ashes.

Nothing out?
We leave with memories,
relationships, personhood,
after a lifetime chasing
wind-blown leaves.

Friday, January 20, 2012

No Words

I have no words
when I am not given to you,
when I hide from the sentence
of your sword,

No words
when, faithless, I shrink
from cliffs of my ignorance,
naked, flee for solace
in beauty’s wooden house,

No words,
when I am not hanging
in your silent shadow,
nailed to the rough-hewn folly
of your wisdom.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Minus Eight At Twenty Below

Small town theatre,
thick fur huskies,
ice blue eyes,
tied up at the door.

Narrow room with three hundred
seats on a slanting floor
facing a stage,
the screen is hidden behind
a long blue curtain.

Rock music blares
from theatre speakers
while friends and neighbours
gather and take their seats,
shouting and laughing
to be heard over the music.

Young gaggles of girls
run up and down the aisles,
excitedly skip and twirl laughing
across the stage,,
back and forth dancing
doing cartwheels
or clowny fragments
of ballet.

Everyone is dressed casual
in many light layers
now in the warm theatre
unzipped, unbuttoned,
velcro loop and hook
peeled back like layers
of onion or bark of birch.

Northerners continue to pour
into the room,
they all look happy,
uninhibited and free,
each one undoing his outer layers
of clothes as he walks joyfully
up to a friend or relative.

There is no difference of class
here, as anywhere in the far north.
The millionaire and his wife
snuggle down in  seats
beside the welfare mom
and her kids,
the European with the
quieter and shy native
aboriginals, displaced Americans
British, Australians,
and New Zealanders.

They’ve all come to see a movie,
this one about themselves,
in part using their dogs
cabins and friends as a set,
even the mountain flanks
shoulders and peaks
will be full of memories
and adventures.

The movie is called “Eight Below”,
practically tee-shirt weather,
you can tend the dogs in your pajammas
for five minutes easy at eight below
outside it is twenty below

The curtain rises,
the music ends,
the light dims,
snuggle warm in your seats,
the movie begins.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I need a creator so I will make one.

A voice came to me saying:
" you need a creator because I made you,
nothing that you are was not made by me."

How can there be a hunger  that nothing can satisfy,
an emptiness that nothing can fill?

And joy, ( not happiness that my needs are met)
but joy,
it is,
but how can it be?

Under the sun,
like a well watered tree,
All my springs are in Thee.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My River At Run-Off

I awaken, not knowing
what I will find,
throwing back the curtain,
I see my river wild,
but still barely coursing
between his banks.

Angry at flood,
he undercuts his enemies,
circling roots,
surrounds them shouting,
topples them,
trunks and branches,
trusses them,
sends them rolling
to the sea,
clutters them
with bodies of foolish
and careless along the way;

breaks houses and barns,
does not stop for bridges and dikes.

His the grace of an angry whale,
there is no boat can tame him,
no pretty scenes in his wake,
but a gift to those who call
muddy, twisted violence

In a few weeks
he will repent,
he always has before,
the willows will hang
withy wands and weep,
flowers along his banks
will bloom in long green grass

flowing clean and tired,
he will summer sleep.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Early Morning At Babine Lake

I followed a narrow leaf-strewn trail
down from my campsite
to the placid water's edge.

The lake covered its secrets like a mirror,
smooth multi-colored stones cobbled its shallows.

Birds warbbled and gossiped in busy cacauphony,
a flicker rattled a tree trunk, a grouse drummed his passion,
a trout lept with a splash, loons sailed fishing by,
a moment of reverence,
one met me eye to eye and flew,
wings beating in labourious panic.

Moments of meditative silence,
nearby, a quiet family of swimming ducks.

Peacefulness torn remotely at distant edges
like mist when
somewhere a squirrel scolded.

I sat on a gnarled root at the foot of a great life,
a cottonwood tree, very still, growing there,
a gnarled man, a poet watching God's world
from a window in his poem.

Life is for moments like this,
thoughts leaning branches,
reflections undulating upon gentle

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Miracle Bells

I know a country road
one never walks or drives
in winter;
its snow is seldom plowed,
it leads to no one’s home.

Towards Christmas every year,
when snow is deep and soft,
I try to walk that road at night
towards a solitary
street lamp always lit
while I pray and listen,
watch in silence
for a touch of nativity,
advent of Divine agony
or glory,
seek epiphany of love,
feel the hand of God.

Tonight I watch snow flakes
from heaven fall,
twirling dancers,
random blessings,
in this cone of light,
mid-winter’s soft cocoon.

I have known the approach of God
by tears,
but tonight I pray and pray--
another year has gone by
since I was here,
why am I so distant,
dull my hearing,
hard my heart--
make me once again
a poet of your beauty,

Then suddenly I hear faintly
growing louder the ringing
of little bells,
yes, little bells ringing
at midnight
in the wilderness of no place
people are

Is it angels singing
in silver voices,
or cows with bells
stirring on a farm
far across the river?

Could that river be of stars,
that silver singing still rising
from the very stable?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Love Like Wind

Have you known love like wind
that up-roots trees,
splits them into fence-rails,
mulches leaves,

Love like wind
that piles stones into walls,
plows fields
where dark forests stood,
cuts with fervent breath
wandering ways
for stoney brooks,

Love like wind that digs pools,
drives crystal rain to fill,
spills happily in pleasant song,
plants gardens of grass,
borders of flowers

Have you known love
like this kind of wind?

Such love
with roughened hands
this cottage fashions
in which we dwell.


she bought her lotioned perfume
with the proceeds of sin
bought it for herself
a little luxury, a little something
for the wizened days that surely 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
he was the dream personified,
focused, restated,
the dream made holy
the dream whose fulfillment
now she knew, seeing it,
she could never possess by seduction
or put in an alabaster box
a glory she gave herself to follow
a breaking revelation pouring out of herself,
knowing she had sinned and what it was
sinned against herself, the vision,
against the whole world
she washed his feet with her tears.
She knew her only hope,
 his forgiveness
and in front of all the uncomfortable men,
he simply forgave.

In front of all the uncomfortable men,
she was born again.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Shreds and shrivels the night sky
instantly from east to west,
in the blink of an eye,
no announcements,
no warnings but the darkening clouds,
no committees, no criers in the streets,
some are sleeping and others agape
at the fiery devastating slash.

At that moment in that blue light,
the stone church steeple rubbled,
split from top to bottom,
the brass sounding one last time,
cloven in twain falling,
every face streaming in the rain,
lifted skyward at the flash,
the clean and the unclean,
and then the thunder
trumpet blast of return,
furling the billowing clouds,
collapsing the lung
like a fisted punch,
and rising, a gasp, a wail,
a jubilant hallelujah!

Beautiful Death

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.  (Isa. 61:3)

Precious in the sight of God
the death of His saint.
His candle
in its last guttering
an exsplosion of light
a song
a word
a sword of laser light
thick darkness
the searing sealing--
a saint
who mourned
for those things done
in Zion.