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.
Photo Brian Federle: Overcast in Oregon, 2008
is seeing my blood
blood pushing down
into my arms and legs,
it will soon return
to my darkly
But faith is more than
like the cloistered sun
concealed by thick
all my childish lies,
and gently laughs
at my innocence.
Faith stalks me,
deep into my desert
I wait for her famished arrow.
I love faith;
in her passionate embrace
I fall into my
I fear faith;
slave to her lacerating truth
reluctantly I walk
into her relentless light.
He worked nights, leaving as we climbed
the tall narrow staircase to our shared room,
up into the summer heat, the steel fan
in the hallway window
pulling cool, leafy breezes
from our waving trees.
We heard the kitchen screen-door
slap shut, the Pontiac roaring to life,
and watched as slowly he backed down
the dark driveway, and was gone.
And gladly we glided through misty dreams,
flying over tree-tops, baseball games
and cool swimming pools,
when finally the robin’s enthusiasm
and the fresh morning sun
flashing through green leaves
woke us as we heard the car stop
and Dad call cheerfully, “I’m home!”
The air already scented with bacon and coffee,
we flew down the groaning stairs,
two steps at a bound,
and eagerly started another golden
One winter day I did something wrong, and
he got angry and drew his worn leather belt
From the loops of his grey, stained work trousers
To teach me a lesson.
Terrified, I ran upstairs to the big closet
and trembled behind coats and sweaters,
as heavily he came up the steps,
righteous anger ringing in his voice,
tears flowing down my cheeks;
when my big brother, teenage and strong,
called defiance to him and drew him down
into the back yard to fight him
and save me, angered by his
memory of so many other beatings,
determined to stop it now!
But facing his own father
he could not fight back, and
weeping, I watched my dad
pummel my brother’s defenseless face,
far worse than any beating
I would have gotten.
From kitchen window,
I screamed to them both
That was when my father saw,
in the kitchen window’s glare
his own father’s angry eyes,
and felt his father’s fists
landing hard on his own face,
and he stopped and
embraced my brother.
Seven years after my father died
my first child, my son, was born in spring,
and in the gleaming, sterile room
I first held him in my arms
as, with his impossibly wide, blue eyes
he calmy gazed right into my raw soul,
and I felt in a sudden rush of warmth,
a timeless love
and at last discovered
the reason for my life.
It was then
I understood my father.
In my son’s face I saw my own
and felt my father’s eyes gazing
in warm wonder on me
and I glowed with
unconditional love for my son.
(30 Jan 2011/11-2017)
“Faith reaches the intellect not through the senses
but in a light directly infused by God.” Thomas Merton
Rising from the sea
Brief day fails,
fills the sky
with starry sail,
cold and bright –
fills faithful night.
(2012: Revised 2017)
Golden day, emerald summer,
to green clusters
of sweet fruit –
so sit with me awhile
in the morning shade
as the sun slides
imperceptibly toward night
and see how small birds alight
on St. Francis as he blesses
all God’s green world with
life rioting, wind-
weeds wedging into small,
narrow spaces between
of tender spring grass;
I cannot see you,
know that I love you
as I know
you love me.
as the morning
of life never-
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.
to the western sea.
lifting joy to heaven
as dark waves clash
washing clean the past —
all pain subsides,