Variations on a Theme

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ChurchBodegaBay

But there are so many
To be considered.

The sky, for example,
Is blue today
And white clouds
Are gliding
Over the green continent.

Meanwhile, under the trees
Up Bonny Dune Road
Antennae tremble in the
breeze

While a bird hovers
Momentarily
And dives.

And what about me?
Suppose I’m driving towards Davenport
And I turn too fast
Around the smooth curve
And, seeing the bearded man
Bent over his tripod,
His camera aimed
At the glittering creek

I hear the screaming horn
Of a head-on pickup-truck
And crashing glass
Suddenly fills
My flaring eyes . . . .

. . . . or maybe I swerve in time
And drive on to Davenport,
To the Whaler Inn,
And with my camera
Search for the right shot –
A white church
Against brown hills.

But today I sit alone in the living room
Listening to Mozart , waiting for you

I watch as the cat stretches
By an open window
And stroke her warm fur,
Black silk in silver sunlight
On the dark red carpet.

(1977: re-posted 2017)

The Narrow Road

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The narrow road
flows down the valley,
past hedge row, vineyard, orchard,

red farmhouses and
white mansions;

their black fences are lines
defining isolation

from the grey shacks decaying
where rough life once rejoiced!

I enter our little cemetery
where you wait
for my simple gifts…..

home-grown flowers,
a prayer,
a tear.

I’ll visit again
tomorrow.

Alone

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Alone
on this 4th of July morning;
the sounds of sleep,
peace surrounds me.

Birds call, content
in the gentle, warm wind
of this summer day
dedicated to remembrance.

I can see you now
when I close my eyes.

I took you to the parade!

You were just two then,
clasping my hand
as the big firetrucks rolled by!

Amazed, smiling, happy.

Perhaps later today
I’ll find some flowers
red, and white, and blue
to cover your marker

to make you smile
and take my hand.

Invitation to Dream

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Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
Emily Dickinson

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                                                          Photo by Brian Federle,  Night Sky, 2017

When I last saw you
Your eyes danced with joy
and You filled my life
With hope.

But now you’ve gone
beyond my pale sight.

Oh, feel how
the knife twists in my gut!
Oh, weep with me my stinging tears!

Then come with me
as this darkness descends,

and together,
Let us dream.

Before the Funeral

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Photo Brian Federle, Desert Mountain, Palm Springs Series, Dec. 2016

 

Mountains
surround me.

Black ridges
scrape the sky.

Raw lacerations.

Gone are the songs of
hopeful winter birds,

gone to the mountains
of the sun.

In the valley of the moon,
bitter desolation.

Because We Are Loved

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Photo Brian Federle, San Francisco, 2008

“…we come into being because we are loved and because we are meant to love others.”
Thomas Merton, Honorable Reader: Reflections on My Work

Deep inside
my silent room,
I gaze
at nothing,

as beyond the door
in trees glowing,
green and glistening,
birds sing, spring-
mad, mated,
passion-played!

The sun’s rising,
cradling
Your risen
world,

and I emerge.

(2012, 2017)

Golden Day, Emerald Summer

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Mt Hood National Forest, 2014, Brian Federle

Golden day, emerald summer,
buds erupting
to green clusters
of sweet fruit –

so sit with me awhile
in the morning shade
as the sun slides
imperceptibly toward night

and see how small birds alight
on St. Francis as he blesses
all God’s green world with

life rioting, wind-
blown seeds,
weeds wedging into small,
narrow spaces between
slender blades
of tender spring grass;

and though
I cannot see you,
know that I love you
as I know
you love me.

So together
we’ll listen
as the morning
breeze sings
of life never-
ending!