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.