The Sadness of Holy Saturday

Through the moonless night
clouds choke receding light

and the world descends
into darkness.

Where are you
as winter’s chill pierces my hands?

Oh, where have you gone?

Do you not care that I decay
without your gentle breath,
that without your light
I wane like the failing sun?

Why have you abandoned me?

Through my tears I see
two millenia of agony,
the six million slain,
all the fallen generations
newly free, heavy nails
at last released.

The Denial of St. Peter

Caravaggio, The Denial of St. Peter

On the edge
hands clenched,
sad eyes downcast
bitter fear forcing tight his lips
he holds his breath

he pauses
as the angry finger
of the state
points at his throat,
hard eyes searching Peter’s
indecision
for rash conviction;

but she, she knows
has seen before
his adoring eyes, heard his
boastful voice
by the campfire
of the condemned.

Slowly he moves
toward the inevitable lie
as the bloody sun
stirs to song
the drowsy cock.

Miracle

The night looked bad.

Waves towered,
clouds racing
across the glaring moon,
the sea pounding out
all hope for their little boat,
when a ghost approached,
softly glowing,
impossibly walking across the
wet way.

Terror gripped them.

They saw grim Satan
striding across the waves
to take them down
to his watery hell,

But Peter,
truth clearing his fearful eyes,
saw His face, felt His peace
and, radiant with surging faith,
joyfully stepped over the side
to join his beloved Lord.

His feet touched the soft water.

It was like walking
through shallow puddles.

Lifting his legs
he moved slowly forward,

when looking down,
dark doubt
sucked him under
legs first,
then waist deep.

He cried, “Lord, save me!”

and thrusting his hands
to heaven,
he felt the strong grip raising him back
to life.

I’ve Never Been out to Sea

I’ve never been out to sea

though I’ve touched iridescent waves,
flown over blue surf
and played in safe, familiar bays
with dog-eyed seals and
wondering whales.
But gazing, just as the sun
juts beyond night’s edge,
I see this curving ball, endless
band of water held close
to jealous core by clear bands
of gravity, hurtling
through the void,
My human eye, wrapped in
spheres of bone and blood,
follows earth’s trajectory just
ahead of the season, basks in
the summer sun as it
heats blue waters, casts high
bright towers of
cumulonimbus;
for I am a child of the sea,
and I can see out far
and in deep.

Cherry Blossoms on Palm Sunday

Windy day,
undulant sun
floods smooth cut of lawn

as cherry blossoms race
and lightly fall upon
my upturned face.

O, Sacrificial Tree!
your bright glory cast
to the clamant breeze and
let fill your boughs
with ordinary green.

Lazarus Waiting

falling sun, life swarming
in the liquid light
as I gaze west, through trees,
over houses, over slatted-fence,
towards the waiting, unseen sea.

a foraging bird drops to my mown lawn
(taking note of my still form)
and pecks out her meal…and flies away.

My apple-tree bends towards heaven
new leaves unfolding;
surely it will be leaf-full by Easter!

so I’ll wait for the world to turn
yet another slight degree, for the lines
of golden light to lengthen towards me
and then end in gentle night.

Consoling Martha

Freely flow her fears;
a dam so brimful
cannot contain
such towering waves.

Wondering that
my words fail
to give peace,
I reach out
and take her trembling hands.

Tearful,
I brush away
all her
bitter tears

Towards 280 (after Wayne Thiebaud)

towards 280

Vibrant canvas, undulant colors
thin lines of thick paint
streaking white fields
of bright California light.

The blue road plummets
into wider boulevards.

Down steep freeways
over shadowed s-curves
the black cars streak.

Past the pink condo
rising high along the blacktop,
its thrusting blue shadow slicing
the indurate road,

they drive down bright 280
past creamy waves of warehouse
through fields of pale gold,
where at last they converge

on the incipient, blue
bay.

Peter’s Report

Running all the way,
bent double in breathless pain
we peer and see
the gaping grave
open to the rising sun.

Slowly we enter, our eyes sun-blind,
when we see the empty bench,
the bloody cloth cast within.

I try to imagine
how light must have pierced the cloth,
the sudden shudder
of His broken body,
His sharp breath exploding
like a swimmer breaking the surface,

and I notice John’s eyes
outshining the sun,
and my own face
lighting even death’s
darkest place!

Nothing but Light

“In perfect humility all selfishness disappears and your soul no longer lives for itself . . . . it is lost and submerged in Him and transformed into Him.” Thomas Merton

The proud man
looks into his mirror
and sees bright shiny lies,
power, pleasure,
possession,
and cries “all mine!”

until, at last,
in the honest, good night
sees in his mirror nothing
but light.

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