Natural Force

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The earth shrugs
and beneath the sea
mountains lift shifting waves
driving man
to higher
planes.

Primal force defines
the earth
as we are defined
by the rise and fall
of our breath.

Yet contented we live
by the constant sea
as darker oceans
roil deep
beneath our feet,

and transfixed
we gaze as eternal waves,
pounding thrusting stones,
shatter to frothy foam.

No wonder, then,
when deeper lungs exhale,
in terror we flee,
and cry to God
for mercy.

(10/30/2012)

grace

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Hail Mary
full of grace
you are
filled with grace,
with grace
fill me
in streams
of yes
draw me
to where you are
to where He is
among wo-
men,
yes,
among men
blessed
fruitful, grace-
fully gliding
through the
dark veil
at the hour
of yes
of my
death,
amen.

(4/9/2013)

The Sadness of Holy Saturday

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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.

(for James Foley)

Crow on a Branch

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CROW_on a BRANCHjpg

Crows rise and drop
in the high redwood tree
arguing, competing
to see who would light
on the top-most limb,
as thin branches, bending
under their weight, waver
and bow

when suddenly
one raucous crow
comically falls.

Cawing, the clumsy black bird
beats out his own breeze,
and rises again
to the argument.

(10/19/2010)

image from gohookit.blogspot.com

Peaceful Evening

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Like a dark tower,
my window looms;

ebony night waits
just a step away.

Deep silence
consumes empty spaces
in the tall trees

where breezes sing
in the joyful morning.

My feeble lamp
can only reach
a few feet out

and sets
the pale grass
aglow

as glimmering ghosts
softly search
for peace.

But peace
can be uneasy

and stillness signify
oblivion.

(9/10/2010)

On the Feast of St. Catherine

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The poet on the radio
earnestly read her expert lines
about the sad state
of the world,
the failure
of governments,
churches,
parents,
lovers,
the certain decline of
the cosmos,
the end of the world.

Her lines were exquisitely made,
and I listened with admiration and envy
to perfect rhymes, subtle
metaphor, nuanced images
until I felt both elation and
despair.

Then I looked around me,
to the riot of life in
my backyard,
the shrill ecstasy of birds
the shout of the rose.

My children gathered today
for a Sunday feast, full of
laughter and my corny jokes.

Maybe the poet didn’t have a backyard,
could gazed only on bleak
city walls; maybe her lover
walked out (or should have) or
her children never call.

I worry about the poor;
whenever a grimy hand out-
stretched, I see the pierced hand of Christ,
offering gifts, pearls of great price!

(4/13/2013)

Bridge at Rio Vista

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The bridge stands low
over the swollen
Sacramento,black water,
rushing to
darker seas,hypo-thermal,

sucking breath
from the fallen,
the overboard,

the suicide.

Its sturdy stanchions,
hold fast

and give refuge
from the maelstrom,

a way across

or a place
to jump.