Oblation

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Photo N Federle: Egrets in Suisun Marsh, 2019

Bathe me in light, with warm
water wash, submerge
my submissive head,
my face, my hands,
my wayfaring feet.
Oh, cleanse me!
prepare me
to walk
into your perfect
day.

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Aubade: Vale of Tears

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Photo Brian Federle, Sun in Trees, Russian River. April 2016

Morning fog
caressed
my winter tears

as unseen geese
(noisy gaggle)
crossed the opaque sky.

Things well hidden
confuse
my fragile faith,

so when bright, piercing rays
broke through
this lonely vale of tears

I thought it was only the sun
not the golden light,
desire of my fleeting years.

Hope at Sunset

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Photo: Brian Federle, Oregon, 2014

Across the fading valley
The silver bay shines,
effulgent edge
under twilight hills.

Confined
flat waters
cut a thin line
beneath dark heights.

Saw-toothed ridges
rip thin clouds
to ragged shreds —

the plunging sun ignites
the resplendent light
of love
for this sad, winter world.

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 love
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
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.

(for Brian Federle, 3/4/86 – 3/25/17)

The Goodness of March

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Photo: S. Federle

The goodness of March,
rain, strong winds,
buds swelling —
the everyday
resurrection.

The tree
we planted last year
on the first anniversary
of your passing
is blooming,

its small, pink bursts
quietly exploding
in the green glow
after the storm.

I smile to see it —
thin, wavering limbs
climbing to the sky, defiant
in the March wind.

Are you smiling too?

Immanence

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I know you stroll
beyond Andromeda
gazing on Magellanic Clouds,
but I cannot see that far.

I am stardust
to Earth-fallen.

Yet I seek you in the autumn rain,
hear you singing in the evening wind.

Your breath fills my empty lungs,
your smile lights
my darkened eyes,
and my heart overflows
with your sacred blood —

love spilling,
Earth-fulfilling.

After Christmas

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Photo, Brian Federle: Desert Tree, Palm Springs, Dec. 2016.

After Christmas
life persists, though
the bare trees are
dancing with death,

their leaves ripped
from living flesh;
disincarnate,they wait
for the storm.

So how, then, can I endure?

I live that day every day,
clenched fists pounding
my penitent heart, crying
Mea culpa! Mea culpa!

What kind of a father am I,
absent at the hour of your need?

Oh, forgive me, my son!

Surely tomorrow
the rain will come.

(28 Dec. 2018)