Joy Fills the Night

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Joy fills the night,
sighs, breath
faint as death,
inward fly.

Oh, gaze into the night,

into the emptiness
deep inside
where bright salvation,
in silence resides.

(Sept 15, 2014)

Morning

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when the sky is still black
and stars glitter
like there’s no
tomorrow,
the overblown moon
luxuriant
above seaborne fog…

this is the time
for faith
when birds,
startled by dawn’s
first spark,
raise sharp beaks
and sing
the first song of
morning.

(9/22/2012)

Mid-Summer’s Night

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Glowing night,
clouds excite
the summer sky -

swaying limbs
in dusky shade
sing praise,

for All’s afire!

Stars tremble,
and planets gyre

but this lovers’ moon,
consumes
the shadowed earth
with passion’s
pure desire.

(7/13/2011)

September 11

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“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.”  Thomas Merton

Rushing from shower to sink, I heard the TV
blare its usual chatter of news and advertising
as we made our hurried preparations
for another busy day,
when I saw it:
dark smoke rising into the blue New York sky.

And I stopped, all schedules forgotten, transfixed
by high flames scorching glass and steel.

Calmly, the newsman speculated
about airliners and tragic accidents,
when the passive camera caught it, the black spot
flying straight and sure as a bullet, piercing
the second tower in a shower of orange flame and shattered glass.

This was no accident,then, this morning violence, and I wondered
how many people were already at work when,
pinned by burning jet fuel and melting steel, their busy day
suddenly ceased in searing red pain and numb darkness?

I wanted to go on with my own day,
to hide in the comfort of my routine,
but I could not turn away when I saw jumpers
drop to merciful deaths;

I saw a suited businessman,
pale in white dust, slowly plodding
through a deluge of drifting memos,
clutching his briefcase like a life preserver;

I heard the shrill, muffled
sirens of ambulance and fire-trucks,
lost in the dirty fog of terror.

And I knew in that moment
that we all are New Yorkers,

we all are falling into our dark, quiet center
where, sinless and without fear,
we encounter God, Yahweh, Allah,

The Eternal,

as our shattered bodies rise
through flames of anger
into the pure, cool, forgiving
September air.

(9/11/2011)

Above Berkeley (for Connie)

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Past stone houses
Along the dangerous road
We raced, top down
Past the homes of the rich
Laughing
We flew into the night
To the top

And when we stopped
The March wind still filled my hair
And lifted my breath
High above the bright city
(its streets were constellations
Carelessly glittering
Diamonds
Cast into black waters)

But walking past dark bulldozers
Beyond the battered, red, warning sign
Our laughter suddenly fell
Startled by the silver presence
Above the trees.

We climbed to the peak
As a halo encircled the full moon

Silenced at last
We heard an almost-human cry.

Nearly invisible, we saw them,
The plaintive, grazing deer.

Image: Deer in the Grass courtesy of Ron Jensen

 (2/28/2013)

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)