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
With tongues
of flame
 oh, ravish me!

He Does Not Need Your Sacrifice


“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

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

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

but still pleasing is
the purity of
your song.

(25 Feb 2012)

Lazarus Waiting


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.


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
to silver souls
in golden

(16 Feb. 2011)

The Baptism



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)



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)

Jesus the Homeless
Jesus the Homeless, bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz
Regis College, the University of Toronto.
“I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!”
Jeremiah 20:10


Why do you not believe me?

Have I not wept
as, lost and empty
you cried out in the night?

I shed bitter tears
when at last you fell
and did not arise.

I’ll breath my anguish
and fire your still heart
with my passion.

What more can I do for you
than die?