Advent Wreath


The pale sun, gliding low,
refuses to rise into leaden
grey skies, so bleak night
inters our sinful souls.

Oh! break out the candles
and place them around!
See how their fires
consume the dark ground.

Bouquet of flame!
devour our sins,
and ignite winter’s night
in holy conflagration.




The river glints
in the morning light
as we slowly drive
past the guard-gate
and into the rolling hills
of the Vicksburg Battleground.

But there are no battles here today
in this ringing forest ,
on these wrinkled meadows;

These cannons spit no fire
into this soft Mississippi morning,
and no soldier falls, sighing
into these cool, dark earthworks.

Slowly we drive the winding road
past a bronze soldier
grasping his bronze rifle,
tensely gazing
into the empty distance, waiting
for the screaming charge,
of his deadly brothers.

But all anger spent,
they sleep now
under smart ranks
of gleaming stone;

Now they lie,
unknown soldiers,
lulled by whispering
Southern magnolias
far from forgotten
Northern homes.

(5 Aug 2011)




rushing, wildly running
through narrowing gorge,
plunging ever away
from what it was –

calm pond
silent spring slipping
time’s bond –

descending cliffs
flowing, always flowing
gathering all the waters of the west

to become the Colorodo –

carver of canyons,
life giver, death dealer
river of earth.

(8 October 2015)

Psalm 9-11 (dedicated to Fr. Mychal Judge)


I hear your soft voice
In the hushed evening breeze
as gentle wind fills
these tall, murmuring trees.

For you’re never too far;
your soft breath I can feel.
My soul stirs with faith
that no anger can steal.

Through the cold, empty night
you fill my dark soul.
Your brilliant light breaks
death’s harsh, ancient hold.

In the morning I’ll hear
your clear voice proclaim
my life you’ve restored,
bitter tears wiped away.

(7 March 2014)

Lament for the Children of Syria


“We must begin by frankly admitting that the first place in which to go looking for the world is not outside us but in ourselves. We are the world.” Thomas Merton

I do not seek you
where the children peer
into the burning night;

fire, false dawn
consumes their eyes,
rages through thin skin.

I do not know
where you go when
the gas softly flows
through the shelter;

have you left us here
in this veil of tears, fear-
full and alone?

Oh, where may I seek you
but in this green shade
of whitened bone

(1 October 2013)

The Road Waits


The road waits,
but I’m not ready.
I pause, cradled by soft leather
In this silent room,
listening to morning’s
soft breath stirring
the glimmering summer leaves,
as the perched bird
gazes through my open window
into my wondering eyes
and waits.
But this is a good morning to wait.
Look how the extravagant grass waves,
and truant weeds luxuriate along the fence,
while in the small central garden
red flowers gather like
warm, slumbering children
under the wide,
spreading vine!
But still the road waits.
I’ve seen
the glistening pavements
slide under my rolling wheels,
the river to my right,
green Ohio rising
into northern forests,
and misty Kentucky
calling to me
across the wide,
glittering waters.
The road goes on,
and I cannot

(16 March 2011)