In the Territory of the Gerasenes

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Image: Solomon Raj

From deep inside
I heard them,
howling hatred
lashing me with my own hands
gashing the rocky tombs
with my own bloody feet.

Late at night
they cursed and fought
deep inside
my aching skull.

I was their prisoner,
and they were many…

But then I saw Him by the lake
and my soul leapt
even as Legion arose
as with my ragged voice they raged,
“what will you do to us?”

but my soul cried louder,
“Save me!”

Hearing us both,
He drove the dark spirits
from my unclean breast
and into the beasts….poor swine.
Madness cast them
into death’s deep pit….

but I could hear only
silence.

Peace
filled me.

My hand moved
only when I commanded,
and what my eyes saw
I clearly viewed.

The people of the village
fearing a man who could
compel demons,
begged Him to leave.

Blind fools!
If only they could see Him
as I do.

As he was going, I begged to go too
and stay forever in the light
of his face.

But this grace
was not
for me alone…

He told me to go
and proclaim without fear
how His love saved me
from my soul’s dark night,
and led me here,
into paradise.

(18 Feb 2013)

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Evening Prayer

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Wind stirs in expectation; it
softly strokes my face.

The March sun reassures me,
warms pale flesh
through layers of thick sweater
and winter coat.

Under indigo hills
new grass flows,
yellow and green,

as past distant ranges,
to the sky-bright, rounded sea
he flees and sends us
a gift of clouds,
aflame
in glory.

Peace be with the grass of the fields!
Peace
to dark hills and drifting clouds,
and to the sacrificial sun
peace!

Sunrise

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Photo: Sunrise Orcas Island, 2014.  Brian Federle
“Sunrise is an event that calls forth solemn music in the very depths of man’s nature, as if one’s whole being has to attune itself to the cosmos and praise God for the new day, praise Him in the name of all the creatures that ever were or ever will be.”  Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Oh call me softly
in the morning!
With winter’s sun
paint golden
the pale trees.
In deep waters,
in cool ponds brush my
legs, caress
my tender feet.
Your breath flies
through the green
canyons.
With tongues
of flame
 oh, ravish me!

He Does Not Need Your Sacrifice

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“He does not need our sacrifices,
He asks for our selves.”
Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

Your sacrifice is like
the breath
of the sparrow
in the roiling storm.

It is not needed
but pleasing in its
simplicity.

When you peel away
your small, feathered
soul, when
you stretch your thin
lungs to sing
your hymn of self-
immolation,

remember that
it is not necessary,
no, not at all,

but still pleasing is
the purity of
your song.

(25 Feb 2012)

Angels

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Àngel duent-se una dona, Cementiri Poble Nou, Barcelona Photo by David Chacobo on Flickr

Àngel duent-se una dona, Cementiri Poble Nou, Barcelona
Photo by David Chacobo on Flickr

Angels rise to pure atmosphere
and call us to share
their freedom.

Hear how they sing
living spring
into our wintered world!

At last we rise
redeemed
to silver souls
in golden
light.

(16 Feb. 2011)

The Baptism

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the_baptism_of_the_christ_21

I walked down from Nazareth with the crowd,
nudged on by their excited chatter
and rumors of a crazy man by the river
shouting God at sinners,
thrusting them into the Jordan
like so much dirty laundry
to be rinsed clean and pure.

These are my people,
hungry people
seeking new wine and
new bread, lepers
yearning to be cured,

But deep within me
silence grows,
and somehow I know
that I am closer to Home,
though so far away
from my father’s workshop
and my mother’s kitchen.

When John sees me
he takes my hands and gently
pushes my face into the stream
befouled with the sins
of the people…

I cannot see.

I struggle
to rise and breathe,
from this watery death
I want to be free,
and as I break through
I see His fire, I hear
His voice like a flash of wings
falling down on me,
calling me His Beloved Son,
telling the stunned crowd
to listen to everything
I will say,

in silence,
I hurry away,
into the empty desert
I stray.

(7 Jan 2012)

Transfiguration

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From this holy height,
I gaze into
my Father’s eyes.

His fire scorches
my trembling flesh,
and fills my soul
with sacred breath.

In joyful flames
I suddenly see
I never was
what I appeared to be.

(25 Feb. 2013)