This Day Will Not Come Again

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“A sweet summer afternoon. Cool breezes and a clear sky. This day will not come again.
The young bulls lie under a tree in the corner of their field. Quiet afternoon. Blue hills.
Day lilies nod in the wind. This day will not come again. “
Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

I expected the slight rise
in the east, the sky
growing slate, then
blushing pink and
suddenly blue.

The winter tree
is often
bathed in gold,

and the familiar song
of thrush and jay,
woodpecker’s rapid tapping
brash geese
shouting,

are often the same
from one to another day.

But this sudden breeze,
freshening breath
of the butterfly,
the warmth
the joyful cry!

My God is here!

I breathe,
I sigh.

(3/12/2012)

Holy Mountain

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From this small mountain
folded valleys glide
to shining waters.

Flowing like quicksilver,
dark rivers run free
to the sun-drenched sea.

This is your holy mountain.

I seek your gentle voice
where the small birds rest
on thin branches.

See how their breath
arouses the storm?

Fluttering wings
can make shudder the world,
to passion stir vast
twisting winds.

Though I am small
and dying,
make of me
a pillar of fire,

and I’ll descend from these heights
to flood the dark valleys
with your living light.

Evening Song

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In the nearly dark tree
out on the bright edge,
it clings to tender leaves,
rides the wind-swayed branch
and sings.

Small bird,
red as the falling sun,
cries his evening song …
to tarried mate?
to fading sky or
guardian tree?

Drawn deep to darkest night,
I cannot read this creature’s
pure mind; but his breath
leaves my raptured soul bereft.

(4/19/2011)

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)