The One Thing

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Mourning_Dove12

“Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one thing necessary’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.” Thomas Merton

rain
falling
tenderly
on spring grass, on leaves
bending as two mourning doves moan,
beat wide their wings and brush back the sky, falling low to
dark earth, gladly would I give it
all for a moment
in the glow
of your
eyes!

(9 April 2013)

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Poet to Reader

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Deep inside my silence
words glow like burning stones
plunging to dark waters.

Share with me my holy fire!
With joyful shouts,
we’ll flood the hidden rivers.

But if you leave
I cease.

My words die
without your eyes,
molder to
faded stains.

So come into my heart
and sing with me
this mystic chant!

We’ll be madmen,
hunting diamonds in the dark.

Pure Hope

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“We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, no rests in any visible ends. “ Thomas Merton

Close the the gun’s edge
life is sharply
defined.

Clarity is achieved
when you have nothing left
but hope.

That’s when you realize
that your life stands
without any visible
means of
support;

like a high-
wire walker,
you are
pure.

That’s why
you have the freedom
to stand between
the red rage
and the children.

to the center

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Photo: Brian Federle, “Night”, 2014

the
beat
steady;
constant hum,
music of days to
night fading; the right note, only
song you know; sum of your days, falling, falling to night.

so
go
to the
center, to
the black place to wait
for Him. Don’t call out in fear for
there’s nobody there but you and He, so simply be

and
hear
how His song
fills your darkness with
light; smile at Him, your familiar
bright friend, and no longer will you fear your emptiness.

(23 Dec 2013)

Soft July

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since you’ve been gone the days
are silent

except for the rush of wind
in our apple tree.

See how the fruit hangs
heavy, pulling low
the branches;
ready.

so I’ll wait in the shade
of soft July
and think
of you.

America

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Deep thunder shakes this warm July evening
and lightning flashes over the waterfront
filling the clear, starry sky with acrid clouds and glimmering rain
falling to the water as children gaze
in shock and awe,
waiting for the next big one to explode.

False bombardment as celebration:

such fits my nation, founded in genocide and slavery,
this nation baptized in the blood and tears
of Navaho and Cherokee and all the tribes of the American holocaust
a nation that devoured one quarter of its sons
in four short, blood-soaked years; my nation,
a nation of efficient bigots and hungry hypocrites,
giving the world Gettysburg and the Trail of Tears
as models for problem-solving;
a nation unlike any other, not able to live up to its promises
because no other nation dares make such promises.

The bright violence of rockets’ red glare lights our sky
like the bold Declaration ignited the world, and thunder
rocked mighty kings from complacent belief in their divine rights,
rocked the people of Europe, thirsting for their own rights
and land and a chance to pursue a little happiness;
yes, rocked even distant Asia, deep in its ancient dream
foolish men joyfully following the distant thunder
to seek the fabled Golden Mountain.

The promise was made and broken and made yet again,
and the anger of betrayal torched the cities of the sixties,
and singed our hearts
and in the redeeming pain of change
made them a little less impure.
Yes, we are imperfect,
but we know our sins
and pay for them over and over again,

and to remind ourselves of the debt yet unsatisfied,
every summer we celebrate in the only way fitting for such a nation;
In the starry sky fiercely glowing with liberty
and in the transcendent thunder
of the Promise.

(4 July 2011)