Cold Winds

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Cold winds,
the sharp edge
of winter — hard
and solid and blue —
fires dull fields to green
as slate-grey trees
their secret lives
reveal.

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On the Feast of St. Stephen

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The Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Peter Paul Rubens 1616-1617

“The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his striving – by which man becomes one with God.” (Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain)

See how wind tears, how
clouds ravage the sky
to shreds…

Can you hear the geese fleeing
shouting dread
as the savage storm crouches?

Are you afraid?

I know
how the sea sometimes
launches boulders;

but the stubborn land
bows and waits
and, swollen, forgives

with torrents of life;
rivers of joy.

(2013-2017)

Gloria

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Pacifica Sunset.jpg

Photo, Brian Federle: Pacifica Sunset

 

Sudden light
flares in the eastern sky.

 

Bright clouds burst
and consume the void
with glory.

 

The newborn child,
wrinkled and pink, warms
in his mother’s embrace

 

and waits for the stunned world
to exhale.

 
(23 December 2012)

Summer River

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“It might be good to open our eyes and see.” Thomas Merton

ore’ shading trees’
hanging leaves cast
green sheen on waters,
on the deep
unbroken mirror

when, rising from night
it breaks lightning
and draws first breath
of thin air –

and, discovery made,
falls back
into the cool
watery shade.

Step of Eternity

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moon-reflection

But love laughs at the end of the world
because love is the step of eternity. Thomas Merton

Look into my eyes
and see me smile,

hear my sighs turn to
laughter.

Life’s a comedy,
a melo-
drama
filled with
wrong turns,
missed cues,
sudden revisions
and tearful
reconciliations.

Summer
seems endless, and
the heat wilts even
the sleekest, young runners;

but on paths by cool streams,
by deeper waters we’ll wait

as the sun slides through
night’s ancient gate.

To the cobalt sea
we’ll gaze,
to the fiery moon;

For night steps gently, and
sleep will follow soon.

The One Thing

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Mourning_Dove12

“Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one thing necessary’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.” Thomas Merton

rain
falling
tenderly
on spring grass, on leaves
bending as two mourning doves moan,
beat wide their wings and brush back the sky, falling low to
dark earth, gladly would I give it
all for a moment
in the glow
of your
eyes!

(9 April 2013)

Ordination

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“What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.” Thomas Merton

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deep in the cathedral
love resounds

through the bright air
of paradise
love rebounds
playful, full of
prayer.

Oh, hear the organ’s
profundo ring
laughter
as love pierces
your living heart

as, prostrate,
love breaks open
your breathless soul.

(18 November 2013 on the ordination of my brother)