Wisdom

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Photo by Brian Federle, Hawaii, 2016.

“I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race” Proverbs 8:22-31

Dark mountains rise
to meet the sun.

Night drops
to the western sea.

Skyward
lifting joy to heaven

as dark waves clash
washing clean the past —

all pain subsides,
fulfilled.

Storm

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Driving home
the rain lashes our car,
waves slash the road.

Like blood running,
red blurs stream
from tail-lights.

The anger of the sky,
grief unleashed
consumes all the world.

Hands clasped
on the steering wheel,
I guide us home

where we remember
you are gone.

Tears stream
down our window
panes.

Father’s Lament

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Photo Brian Federle, Hawaii, 2016

Spring fills this dry land
With life, yet

I cannot see your face
or embrace you with a father’s arms
as I did when last you filled our lives
with your easy laughter
and beautiful eyes.

Shall I speak to you, tell how
small birds gather joyfully
in the budding apple tree
hungry no more,
filled with joy?

I cry out to you
and the startled birds
fall into silence,

Let me tell you, then,
Of my new life without you.

Deep in my side I feel endless pain
where my heart once beat;
now I merely breathe
emptiness.

My son, oh, where have you gone?
Call to me from the brilliant heights,

for deep in darkness I lie
crying to see you just
one more
time.

To My Wife in Mourning

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bright day,still birds, black
spots on the blue sky, slightly
sway in trees, and wait

for winter to stay
or summer at last to come
like we’re waiting for

the pain to stop, death
to give way to the winter
sun’s soft, warm embrace.

(our son, Brian Federle, 1986-2017)

Three Poems for My Father

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i

When I last saw you
Your hands were clenched
With a rage foreign to your voice
And you were rushing inward
Away from the moon, beyond the glowing
night
Of my grief.

Yet on my way home
I saw the moon rise.

Where have you gone, then, If not
to that land behind the moon?

ii
In the emptiness above the earth
In the terrific clashing of jet with atmosphere

I heard your new voice
I saw your new hands

Tearing at the cold, hurtling steel,
Casting off silk shroud

For dark soil
And even darker rivers.

iii
If stars loom too large
Is not my window too small?

(11/24/1980)

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

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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)

Memory

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“Memory”

sometimes in mass
as sacred songs
wash over me like rain,

I break free
and drift
into memory,

and again you rise,
your tears flow
as tears fill my eyes,
your dying breath
whispering
good bye;

after so many years,
the knife still cuts
and again, and
again

I cry.

(20 May 2015)