Saturday, December 31, 2011

Watching the Res on New Year's Eve

The trees that loom
above the lagoon
sing their night songs
to the darkening sky,
leaping onto my window,
to peer over my shoulder
at the houses across the way,
lined up along the water,
huddling together
beneath a soft pink blanket
and blushing
as they wait
for the light to fade
and fireworks to begin.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Listen for the current

Find me a place
where I may sit
by the winds of desire
or the tides of thought.

Help me to lift my oars
away from the temptation
to push, or steer;
help me listen for -- and feel --
the current of Your voice.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

You grew up with wings

It's all very well for you:
you grew up doing this --
trusting, floating,
riding the waves.
You grew up with wings,
always knowing
if the water got too rough
you could fly away.
But for me,
every ripple brings new awareness
that I could tip over
and drown.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When art burns

When art becomes an outlet
to express the pain
you cannot name,
there may come a time
when you have to stop
creating beauty out of ugliness
and step into the fire.
Sometimes the longer you wait
the hotter the fire burns.
Sometimes the art you create
burns brighter for the waiting.
But always
the only way out
is through the fire.
Let me hold your hand:
together we can make it
to the other side...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Before nightfall

Winter, late afternoon,
and in the fading light
he walks beside
the dying plants,
trying to remember
where he left the watering can.
Behind him, in the kitchen,
a cacophony of tiny clocks
collected from garage sales
chatter away the hours
til nightfall.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Simple sunrise

No smoke,
no fire --
just a simple sunrise,
easily missed;
a brief moment
when my heart
goes out to the trees
before I understand
they're in no pain:
it's only the light
breaking through
the dark clouds
of winter.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Still to come

Whatever beauty we create
pales beside the gifts
you've given us --
the sleek dark of winter,
the crisp promise of spring,
the ripe rich glow
of the camellia --
and yet we beg you:
bless us, once again,
with the hope
and the promise
of new life
still to come...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Praying for the light

We sit and wait,
surrounded on all sides
by fog,
hoping for the light
to glow through
and reveal the treasures
that surround us here:
the water and the sky;
the deep pine scent of peace;
the shadows,
laying their dark stripes
across the green grass;
and there,
just before us,
no longer hidden,
the path that will lead us

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thinking of you

You who are wounded,
tired and sore;
who carry a child
or fight in a war;
you who are grieving,
too tearful to sing;
you who are taxed
beyond reckoning;
you who are jobless,
or homeless; so poor
that Christmas is salt
in your wounds --
I'm thinking of you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

May all divisions cease

God walks the path
that lies between,
reminding us
that these divisions --
your land and mine,
your life and mine,
your heart and mine,
are immaterial;
that sky will always
reach down to touch
the land and sea;
that the sea will always
lap at the edges of the shore;
that mountain and valley
share a common soil;
that you and I and land and sea
are One.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Come away refreshed

May we who rejoice
in the texture and color
of land, sea and sky
behold in each
the glory of Your presence.
May all who pause
in this holy place
to drink Your beauty
come away refreshed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How entangled; how like God

Our lives are so entangled here,
woven together like the storm-tossed kelp
that litters the winter beach:
the Spanish teacher
married to the fire chief,
the physicist who leads
our Sunday worship;
the librarian who once ran the store,
the Swiss businessman who drove
his friend -- a retired fisherman's --
boat across the country
so his wife could come to know
her adopted land...

the lines of connection,
the many ways and places
our lives intersect,
a microcosm of the larger world
beyond the island,
where things can get so complicated
that we no longer see
how dependent we are on one another,
and how like God we all are
at the core.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

While shepherds watch

What light is this, suspended
here, above this lowly stable
where the sweet lamb browses
under the watchful eye
of the shopkeeper?
What hosts of angels
drew them forth
with promises
of peace and joy;
sweet blessings to be found
in a ring of animals,
a necklace of stars,
one brighter still than all the rest
lying in a bed of straw?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tis the season...

For all their sparkling
fur-encrusted finery,
the glitter
that pervades their world;
for all the wealth
and opportunity;
you'd think the holidays
would hold delight,
or joy, or gratitude;
some awareness of the blessings
that decorate and drive
their weary lives.
I suppose it is a chore
to dress and dance
after a hard day of shopping
and planning charity balls;
perhaps they'd rather sleep...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Through eyes glazed
with fevered thoughts --
reality seen only
through the haze
of pain and fear --
the day still dawns,
the trees
dancing in the fog;
One power,
One light,
always returning
even when all else
has been shut down
or disconnected:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Come and rest

Can you --
will you --
rest a moment;
set aside
the jobs that you've
assigned for yourself --
all the tasks
that give you value --
and just sink into my arms?
When did you forget
that you were precious
in my sight,
and why do you assume
that without these roles you play
your life and your body
have no worth?
Come, my child, and rest.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Intelligent design

At first glance,
perfect symmetry,
but no --
there's only one
of this white branch,
with two of that bright fuchsia,
each hanging horizontal
centered on the pot
while the white
drops down
to the left
and even the leaves
droop more on left
than right
yet somehow
it all works:
intelligent design...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jeweled potential

The light that streams
through the cracks
and crevices
of our broken existence
carries with it
all the colors of possibility
and sets the angels dancing.
Don't turn your head away,
but stare, deeply;
absorb the shape of the cracks,
drink in the color
of the light,
stop long enough
to see the angel,
clasping hands with delight
as she showers you
with jeweled potential.

Friday, December 9, 2011

From Grace to Grace

Whose wings
will carry us
across the dark
and snowy mountains?
Whose wings
will carry us home?
Whose arms will hold us
during the long flight
that leaves from Grace
and flies with Grace
and lands with Grace again?
So many arms --
all Yours.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Watching and learning

Life, they tell us
is what happens
while we're making
other plans,
and so I'm watching
as it happens;
sifting through surprises
and re-adjusting
along the way.
Tomorrow is already
not going as I planned;
but I mean that
in a good way:
staying loose,
going with the flow
could be fun;
I'm learning, I'm learning...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dance of anticipation

When that creative impulse strikes,
it's just as if a dozen
brightly colored fairies
start dancing in your heart,
spreading their arms
in welcome,
fluttering their wings
in anticipation:
Come! Dance with us!
Throw away those inhibitions!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


If I look blue, to you,
it doesn't necessarily mean
I am sad.
If I look wealthy
to you,
it doesn't necessarily mean
I'm rich
in the ways that count.
If my features look perfect
to you
it doesn't necessarily mean
my life is perfect.
And yet, can you see,
how each thing that you project
onto me
is something that belongs
to you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Safe arrival

A mother watches
as the child's journey begins,
again, and again:
a hand to hold
for those first steps,
and then a lunch
for that first long day at school.
We teach them how to pack
and how to read a map;
we teach them what to trust
and what to avoid
and send them on their way
into the world...

Where will they go?
And how will they travel --
by boat or by plane,
couch-surfing or camping,
hostels or hotels...
exploring one area
or covering lots of ground --
all those choices to be made
will be theirs to make.
And a mother watches,
from a distance now,
never far from the phone,
always a little on tiptoe,
the hand outstretched,
the breath, caught,
then calmed again
by word of safe arrival.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The scarecrow's request

Like the scarecrow,
we stumble through our days
assuming life would be much better
if we only had a brain --
or at least a more efficient brain.
But isn't it the brain
that categorizes,
and divides;
that names,
and numbers,
prioritizing our days?
Were I to land in Oz,
I think I'd ask
that man behind the curtain
for the wisdom
to listen
to my heart...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

You, me, and the kids

We're all in this conversation together:
you, me, and our inner kids --
the infants,
hungry for love and attention;
the two-year-olds,
frustrated and furious;
the four-year-olds,
learning to manipulate
with their charm...
If we close our eyes,
we might forget who's speaking --
which could prove to be
an unfortunate, divisive, mistake.
Before we speak,
let's stop and listen for a moment:
it could make a difference
in the future of our friendship...

Friday, December 2, 2011

When the rain begins

As I pass by
in my warm car,
bracing for the chill to come,
I see you squatting there,
your skin exposed
for all of us to see.
You do not seem to shiver,
but I ache
for all your vulnerability
and wonder:
where will you sleep
when the rain begins?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seeking the Via Media

Surely there's some
middle ground
between the bold crusader,
striding forward in the world,
and those who sit and wait
for blessings to fall
into outstretched hands,
certain that just being
is enough.
How many of us
have chosen to wear
some version
of this man's bold pink button,
shaking our fists
at an absent God and crying,
"Tip me,
you cheap bastard!"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why Graceland?

What part did Grace play
in the sway of your hips,
the curve of your lips,
and your guitar?

Were you dressing as an angel,
clad in white
with all those sparkles
and that pink car?

Did you lose at love,and was it, then,
a window in your heart?
And -- tell me true --
did you believe
that we all would be received
in Graceland?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When good casts its shadows

When good casts its shadows,
will we take time to look?
What happens in the dark places
created by the power of the light?
Will we turn our back
on the true light of day?
Prefer the impact of the light
in the darkness?
Become creatures of the night
who worship the shadows?
Better we should choose
to live for the morning
when light will shift and broaden
to cover all of the scene.
Then the statue will fade,
and all will become one
with the house of the Lord.

(Somehow I kept thinking of Penn State when I wrote this...)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Swamped by the holidays

I never quite realized
before seeing this
that there might be a connection
as visual as it is visceral
between Christmas --
and the tree,
all covered with oddments
of Christmases past --
and feeling,
Perhaps, when the tree
goes up this year,
I'll add a small alligator
as a reminder:
this is perfectly normal,
and still beautiful...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A song of her own

Each of us
has a song of her own,
and though I may be singing mine
while you are drumming yours
the combined effect
if we will both
do what we do best
is sure to draw a crowd.
Get out on the street:
Set up your suitcases,
your drums, mikes and sound.
The beat of your voice
will make the alleys ring with joy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What next?

There are mysteries,
and there are mysteries,
some start with a bang,
others end with a whimper,
but the meat of each
is anticipation:
what will come next?
What surprising gifts --
or challenges --
will swoop down upon us
or flutter lightly by,
titillating souls
or nostrils
with the scents
of possibility,
of fear;
of blood, or hope?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Suffer in silence

And if, by chance,
you were to eat --
or drink --
too much this day,
and find your head
is feeling
cracked and sore,
fair weighted down
with remorse
and regret;
your stomach
bloated with shame,
remember those
less fortunate
and suffer
in silence...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beautiful, beloved

As long as we continue
to hunger for the exotic,
the unreachable;
for plumage
unrelated to our species
we may very well continue
to be fish out of water.
All the leprechauns in the world
cannot recreate us
as other than we are --
and infinitely vulnerable...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don't think of Icarus

Let's fly together,
you and I,
off into the sunset:
just think
how romantic it could be!
Don't think
about a stray wind
or a broken line,
your fear of heights
or mine,
or what it would be like 
to fall.
Don't think of Icarus.

Monday, November 21, 2011

This fence you built

About this fence you built --
the one that separates
your land from mine --
can you see your way through it?
And if the trees on my side
came from seeds
sown by your trees,
who is it, then,
whose job it is
to rake the leaves
that fall
and turn the road to gold?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hope like a mist

When the cold night
of unfortunate truths
connects again
with the warm depths of being,
Hope rises like a mist,
drifting over a silver sea,
by the dawning light.
Illuminating some thoughts
while obscuring others,
it floats, ephemeral,
then fades again
as daily consciousness returns.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The hope that lies beneath

As the sea carves
its ever-changing path
through the sand
that coats the shores of being,
so does the truth
that courses through our veins
engrave your word
upon our hearts,
scraping away
the sedimental self
to reveal
the glow of purity;
the hope that lies beneath.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Those bitter stones

Through the signs
and symbols of the loss to come
we catch a glimpse
of the river of hope,
running a bit low
this time of year
and yet the current flows,
making its inexorable way
past all the obstacles
placed in its path --
and can we see
those bitter stones
as stepping stones
to the Other Side;
the gift that will one day
allow us, too,
to walk on water?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Put your finger in the water

I'm tapping in
to the Crossroads of Now --
just a slight dip,
you understand;
just getting my toes wet...
I never dreamed
(as Katherine Hepburn said
in African Queen,
after going over the falls)
physical experience
could be so exhilarating!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

They don't give out Oscars

Despite what your mother
may have led you to believe,
they don't give out Oscars
for busy-ness.

So relax a little.
Drop the sword.
Put away
the inessential tasks.

Get in touch --
with the body,
the anxiety,
the family,
the issues,
and the love
that lies beneath it all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lost in fog

and the fog rolls in again,
muffling the boundaries
and whispering
of sun and warmth to come.
Above the cold gray sea
clouds drift and scatter,
soft and woolly,
blue against the rising dawn,
while tufts of land
reach out, then disappear,
sliding doors
into infinity.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Goddess of Mercy

Goddess of Mercy,
hold us in your warm embrace
as we embark
upon the sea of days.
Help us to accept
the constant presence
of our shadows
and teach us
by your gracious example
that a step into the darkness
is but the beginning of a dance
that leads us once again,
ever stronger
and more sure,
into that which lies beyond
both light and dark.

*These lovely statues created by Anita Feng of Golden Wind Raku.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


at the point of conception
we question yet again:
what is the point
of all those lives
once lived, now lost;
or perhaps
more to the point --
what is the point
of those lives left behind,
and what would be the point
of staying?
Forced to look inward
by the challenge of the season,
pointed reminders
of inevitability,
we fall like leaves
into our groundedness;
scrabble among the stones that pierce our knees
in search of that one pure diamond of awareness
whose sharp light might cut through the shadows,
and still we cannot see
that this need not be another instance of divine finger pointing,
but rather the divine reaching out, extending a hand,
becoming more deeply rooted
in being.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

For Now

We build the walls
and plant the trees
yet still the bones pile up,
threatening to overwhelm
our carefully crafted shores;
the leaves -- so bright,
when we chose to plant them --
falling now, the dead bare branches
mournful echo of the bones below,
the stones, cold graves that mark
the losses, wait for wind and wave
and tide to bring yet more.

Perhaps I'll mow the lawn
to keep this tidy edge,
delineating what is mine,
is green, is thriving still -- life --
and what is not, is theirs,
is oh so carefully held at bay,
but mounting up until I can't ignore,
and feel this fragile boundary
dissolving, color leaching out
while gray seeps in.

Come, blessed fog:
roll in, and muffle sound and feeling,
tame the dark and light
until they no longer speak,
no longer tell the tale
of was and is and is to come
but only toll for Now
for Now
for Now.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blush to forget

I blush to think
I've strayed so far afield:
here I am,
all grown up,
almost ready
to take that final leap,
to sever that last cord
and drift away from all that was
to all that may someday be --
and I forgot
the cardinal rule:
we are what we were born to be,
nothing less,
nothing more,
just -- everything we are.
What ever made me forget
I need no more than I have?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The jewel of infinity

a small island.

Heading home
After a long day,
Rejoicing in deserted roads;
Alone at last.

I turn the corner,
And beauty flares,
Igniting the path ahead.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where the music goes

This man,
whose horn blew once
so strong and true --
where will the music play
when he no longer
has the strength to blow?
The rhythm will live on,
the songs inside his head,
but without breath,
the horn is just a horn;
no life, no spirit spilling into sound.
But still the music lives,
and so it reinvents itself
in smiles and heart, and grace;
a lap to hold a grandchild on
while humming
jazz tunes in her ears.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I find it hard to watch

I understand
that death must come to all,
that trees must shed their leaves in fall
to feed the soil
which will in turn
feed them in spring.
But I find it hard to watch
when death takes the young ones
who haven't had the chance to grow,
whose futures seem so bright,
and yet must dim, and fall...
And in that long lazy circle,
carried on the breezes to infinity,
do they, who ride so much more lightly,
laugh and rejoice,
delighting in their journey

Monday, November 7, 2011

Afternoon light

Late afternoon, Autumn,
and as the day deepens into blue
a few last fingers of light
part the branches of the old Maple
to cast a blessing
on the leaves that thrive in its shade,
exposing the hole
in the apron of one,
the tattered edges of another,
and still they bask in the sun,
arching and unfurling;
Cinderella glowing
in that one brief moment of love
before midnight falls,
the glass shoes dissolve into dust
and her briefly golden gown
subsides to rags.