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!"