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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


As I sat along the Bulkley river,
looking across and praying,
suddenly one of the largest trees,
a cottonwood giant
on the other shore,
simply toppled and fell
with a resounding crash that echoed
and shook the ground.

I was stunned,
I saw it happen as I watched
and wondered at the power
of focused prayer.

Monday, January 9, 2012


A sickle of moon is caught
in the branches of cottonwoods
along the ice choked river.

A black night.

Stars in their constellations
so far away,
my prayers fly nakedly,
shadows among them.

It is cold.

With broken star gazers who pray,
I await a reply.
simple worship does not seek
the approval of an echo.

Freezing, yeilding to the shivers
of  cooling blood, I stumble in
to wait by my fire
of forest wood.

I hear silver chimes
hanging in the blue spruce
outside my frozen window
played by mercy of sudden wind.

A sickle moon, a star,
a wrung out prayer,
matins sealed with silver chimes.

Manna Memories

Where springs well up and overflow,
we found great love.

Where trees bend low,
gracefully a river slides bend to bend,
we walked hand in hand.

Kneeling on stones,
we prayed as one,
the sea piled up and parted,
obeying a silent wind.

Sometimes a pillar of fire.

Sometimes a dark cloud.

We fed on manna in the morning.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Overflowing

Strings of pearls fall cup to cup
from bistro eaves under grey skies.

Strings of colored lights
droop branch to branch
in dimming light.

Music cherished when love was young
plays on the radio.

The sun sets behind its sodden curtains,
mist glides between the trees
on a day of funerals and neighbours visiting,

a day of sharing comfort,
the singing of ancient hyms
by choirs in old wooden church lofts.

The second hand bookstore is closed
shelves packed to the high ceiling.

the waiting at the casket is done,
graveside service in the rain is past,
Sandwiches at Saint Joseph's are consumed.

We return to our scattered islands
accross the different waters,

and now the overflowing,
the rain.
the grateful overflowing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

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.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lemming Love

I would have gathered you,
but my sweet lemming,
in congregational lust
you rioted and ran
for the rush of salt bitten air,
intoxication of sheer flight,
shock of inevitability,
abandonment to surrender,
to surging suffocation,
frothing promises
of prosperity.

Spontaineous imperceptible choices
levered timbered porticos.

Traps of wire,
opened, closed,
the seascape
thundered, grinding stone,
clanked bolts, wire traps
snapped behind,
mysteries of the deep
throttled your last breath.

Instantly unregretted,
yesterday unremembered,
you slumber now in tidal swung
shrouds of seaweed.

My lemming love,
beyond signatures of indenture,
beyond sacrificial offerings
of things never yours,
to gods who never lived,
my lemming love,
my love,
rocking in the Neep and Spring,
then cast in lifeless dream,
rubbles of mercy and grace among,
upon my shining shoreline resurrection.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Prayer Breathes

Every body prays with  lungs
to live,
takes in the breath of air,
releases it spent
with exhalations of elemental gratefulness,
oxygen into the blood,
subliminal drums
beating, pulsing,
feeding muscle and bone
in rhythms of thanksgiving,
another moment of being.

Fractured and at war with ourselves,
we struggle to live
without internal unity,

until the moment,
if it comes,
body soul and spirit agree,
sing as one choir with the lungs.

Then chant them,
even after flesh is gone,
breathing prayers,
breathing prayers.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Let The River Flow

Mind cannot be forced
to uncover what mind knows
so floodgates must be opened
drain the buried mountain garden
let the river flow

A cat lies sleeping
on a sun-warm window sill
something alert
something still

from mountain cavern
to blinding sky
our rivers flow to the sea

Dying salmon surge up stream
backward in time
Pentecost to Gethsemane

Angels sing marking turns in history
song that dances on the draining water

sunlight dances on the water
dances over secrets
carried in the water
from garden to the sea
let them be.

Angels sing and history turns
song that dances on the water
moonlight dances on the water
Jesus walks upon the sea
beckons me.

Coffee Camaradarie

In this early morning moment,
men only
in small groups, talking,
solving problems small and large,
sports, politics, jobs, business, trades,
vicariously enjoying the victories
of sport heroes,
pontificating upon what is wrong with the world,
how it should be righted,
bursts of laughter,
raised ernest voices
excersizing authoritative stances
in friendly jousts,
enjoying male rough and tumble,
small victories in good spirit,
conquering little mountains,
having the final word, the chuckled applause,
the recognitiion, achievement,
ascent carried on the shoulders of peers.

Then all is done.
Each leaves cheerfully in fellowship
to meet the challenges of the day,
selected scaffolding words,
bolstering, imboldening,
re-ringing in their ears.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Leaving The Fire For A Walk

Wear your cariboo muk-luks,
warmest for deep snow,
moon is full,
we will walk tonight,
feel northwind,
scrape our faces
with its bone knife.

Let's recall our love
for this frozen isolated place,
maybe find God walking
among his sixty foot
snow-laden Christmas trees
along our river choked with ice,
rushing from glaciered mountains
to salmon-teeming seas.

There is our favorite Summer's meadow,
field of undulating moonlight silver,
stand knee-deep in drifted crystal,
ringed with celebrating trees.

Look way up,
awe-filling borealis
shakes his coloured curtains
down on us
across star-spilled sky.

Our breath and beating hearts,
loudest sounds we hear
except distant spine-tingling
call of wolf
or furtive step I think is deer
(I hope he knows the wolf
is more of threat than we are)

We came out seeking
God we know not what,
wolf was seeking status
meat and mate.

Though footfall of  deer too light,
moon less bright,
curtains of the falling northern light
enclose an entry on a stage too small,

we are satisfied that being more
than all of all
He is enough.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year!

Who goes there?
Twenty Twelve, you say,
and how do you come?
do you come with flames
or with flowers?

Are those your people rioting,
 your guns blazing,
your missles streaking
your drones assasinating
your bombs exploding?

Or do you come quietly in peace,
your children playing safely in the streets,
fear and hunger bannished from your families,
fathers working and mothers bearing
another child of joy?

Twenty Twelve, you may pass
with clean hands and a pure heart,
with a voice that sings
with the stars, with the dawn
and with love in sun's rising.

I know,
I can't stop you however you come,
but I will sing,
my peace will bless,
and I will embrace you with hands that are clean,
a heart that is pure,
and with love in sun's rising.