Photo: Brian Federle
“Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love.”
― Thomas Merton
Gazing into bright desert space
we see endless highways, distant
mountains we never reach,
sharp hills, steep cliffs
as we move closer,
to the pacing sun,
creasing dark canyons,
casting amber light
into the gauzy sky —
yet our dark dreams trouble
the faint stars; the reeling planets
throw wide nets over
our haunted, lost souls
when, morning at last,
we begin again,
pursuing the tumbling edge
of this turning globe
it will never end, will never
Walking through the dusty grove
we talked of death and empty graves
when a stranger suddenly appeared.
He walked with us and asked why we trembled so.
Amazed that he seemed not to know
of the blood and pain in Jerusalem,
we told him
how dark the day became, how the sun slid down
to shivering night
when, broken, our friend was placed in the cave.
Rebuking us for our lack of faith,
he explained how it was all foretold in the ancient books;
from Adam to David, the inevitable grave
We heard, eyes cast down,
when at Emmaus he broke
our common bread
and looking up, we saw Him.
His face was blazing like the sun!
We blinked, and then he was gone,
but the bread remained.
Photo: Brian Federle, “Camping” 3-25-2008
the green glow
of our cottonwoods
newly clothed in the gentle April sun ….
our apple tree,
intimating cotton buds
promising green glory to come,
and the grass!
all winter-yellow evaporated,
shouting like a
skipping across the playground
in the school’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
but most unforeseen,
along the rough fence
blazing with royal light
in the deep, verdant shade
of our cottonwoods.
(12 April 2010)
“We cannot find Him unless we know we need Him.” Thomas Merton
I see its raw fury clawing at her hands,
Kissing her sallow face with lies so perfect on silk pillows,
Concealing raw, gaping wounds inside, the insult
The harsh silence, the enforced peace.
I have seen all this before, this beast, this darkness, this indifference
To waves of anguish washing through the room
As her mother weeps, and her father strokes
Her dark, perfect hair.
I see her, and
But what am I to say to their terror? These children
Look at me, questioning … after all,
I am their teacher…
But why did she die?, well, asthma… breath denied… but why?
I know this insistent knot, this question piercing my gut,
And I want to hide in silence, but questions will not be denied,
And I know their questions, all of them…
So what am I to say to calm their red, flowing eyes,
These, my poor, dark flowers, piercing me with their tears?
Yes, read the book to them…Lazarus found out… faith…
Promises were made, now to be made good.
Yes, faith… what else is there but
And so we say the rosary,
And we go on.
through the undergrowth
into deeper woods.
limbs link tree
to brother tree,
to the bright
I see the three,
still as lawn ornaments,
frozen in motion,
by my sudden form.
They stand and gaze
by my stasis,
at last with lazy gait
back they move
into the nodding
(3 May 2016)