Photo: Brian Federle, Desert Sunrise, Dec. 2016
I, John, declare.
Can you hear?
Open your eyes and see.
With outstretched hands reach and
proclaim to the world of endless strife
the Word of peace,
ref: 1 John 1:1-4
(22 December 2011)
Photo Steven Federle: Conflagration at Clear Lake, 2018
A voice said, “Cry aloud!”
and I said, “But what shall I cry?”
Shall I sing to the people
a song of spring,
hills aflame with green,
dry grass igniting
In darker days,
when the high meadow fell fallow
and flowers of the valley
dried to dust,
I thought you’d turned
away, took your giving hands
to other lands.
Despairing, I wept,
stung by tears
from angry Hell,
Oh, forgive me, pity your child
and make your enduring rain fall
on the riotous grass,
on the bold crocus
Photo Brian Federle: On the Pacifica Path, 2014
Photo Brian Federle: Mendocino Sundial 2016
falling sun, life swarming
in the liquid light
as I gaze west, through trees,
over houses, over slatted-fence,
towards the waiting, unseen sea.
a foraging bird drops to my mown lawn
(taking note of my still form)
and pecks out her meal…and flies away.
My apple-tree bends towards heaven
new leaves unfolding;
surely it will be leaf-full by Easter!
so I’ll wait for the world to turn
yet another slight degree, for the lines
of golden light to lengthen towards me
and then end in gentle night.
Photo: Tree in Desert by Brian Federle
“What is my new desert? The name of it is compassion. There is not wilderness so terrible, so beautiful, so arid, and so fruitful as the wilderness of compassion.” Thomas Merton
I’ll wander with you
in our pain.
Though dry days
and star-drenchd nights
we’ll search the sharp rocks
for pools of cool tears.
Forty days and
forty nights shall we journey
through the wilderness,
to the green oasis
where we’ll flourish — audacious
lilies in hidden springs —
every good thing.
(13 Oct 2012/ revised 7/31/2018)
Caravaggio,Supper at Emmaus
National Gallery, London
Walking through the dusty grove
we talked of death and empty graves
when a stranger suddenly appeared.
He walked with us and asked why we trembled so.
Amazed that he seemed not to know
of the blood and pain in Jerusalem,
we told him
how dark the day became, how the sun slid down
to shivering night
when, broken, our friend was placed in the cave.
Rebuking us for our lack of faith,
he explained how it was all foretold in the ancient books;
from Adam to David, the inevitable grave
We heard, eyes cast down,
when at Emmaus he broke
our common bread
and looking up, we saw Him.
His face was blazing like the sun!
We blinked, and then he was gone,
but the bread remained.