Bridge at Montezuma Slough


We drive to see
where the twisted road will lead.

Salty river, winding slough,
dark water
rising to frothy cap
slapping concrete pier,

moon driven waves race
back to beckoning bay.

Finally we must decide…

cross the low bridge
or turn back,

but the flood is so close to the deck!

We feel tidal vibration,
basso profondo,
rattling sub-sonic
in our ears
as together
we face our fear,

and slowly cross,
eyes always ahead
til again we feel sure earth
solid beneath our tread.

(2013 – 2018)



The generals line-up, war-plans
in withered hands, ready to strike
the children.

But do not fear this transition!
For above the black clouds, know that He lingers,
Ready to strike!

Then will the blind see and the deaf hear.
Then will we leap for joy
As the mute break forth
In song!

Isaiah 35: 1-6A – 10.

(10 Dec 2016)



The delicate action of grace in the soul is profoundly disturbed by all human violence. Passion, when it is inordinate, does violence to the spirit and its most dangerous violence is that in which we seem to find peace. Violence is not completely fatal until it ceases to disturb us.

Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude.


Like a delicate wind
your grace shaped my infant soul
filled my emptiness
with angelic form

and I was beautiful
and good

until, jealous for your love,
I slew my brother.

Now I fear the abyss
that opens beneath me
the grave
of my sin-withered soul.

To you I pray
forgive me! bring me back
from the numbing peace
of careless, empty

(1 February 2013)

Bridge at Rio Vista

The bridge stands low
over the swollen
Sacramento,black water,
rushing to
darker seas,hypo-thermal,

sucking breath
from the fallen,
the overboard,

the suicide.

Its sturdy stanchions,
hold fast

and give refuge
from the maelstrom,

a way across

or a place
to jump.

War Rages


“All men seek peace first of all with themselves. That is necessary, because we do not naturally find rest even in our own being. We have to learn to commune with ourselves before we can communicate with other men and with God.” Thomas Merton

War rages
in secret places,

cold war,
shivering bones
firing stones into
the hidden nests
of the

until war ends
in collapse

but simply speak
and soon words
like sweet rain
will ease your
desert pain;

reach out,
hand to trembling
and find
new strength:

and sacred



train at night

Late at night
our trains pass through broad meadows.

We grip controls, heavy, uncertain, anxious
about schedules,
about stalled cars on tracks,
about small children darting through the night,
small children who dare steel wheels and blinding lights
who test death at our trembling hands;

we guide our trains
probing the night
along the measured way,


without incident.