The Gate of Heaven is Everywhere (Eclipse)

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“The gate of heaven is everywhere.” Thomas Merton

I can hear your soft breath,
gentle strains of music

the easy breeze
nudges the curtains

peace flows
across my skin
like cool water.

But soon impatient dusk
will overtake bright day

when the sun dims
in the dark grip
of eclipse, and ancient
terror thrills even
the most
comprehending mind;

for this is when
metaphore
overtakes fact,

and unknown stars glint
in the afternoon sky.

We never knew
they were hanging so low,

diamonds in deep
caverns,

new light!

(27 Nov 2012: 21 Aug. 2017)

Because We Are Loved

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Photo Brian Federle, San Francisco, 2008

“…we come into being because we are loved and because we are meant to love others.”
Thomas Merton, Honorable Reader: Reflections on My Work

Deep inside
my silent room,
I gaze
at nothing,

as beyond the door
in trees glowing,
green and glistening,
birds sing, spring-
mad, mated,
passion-played!

The sun’s rising,
cradling
Your risen
world,

and I emerge.

(2012, 2017)

To My Wife in Mourning

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bright day,still birds, black
spots on the blue sky, slightly
sway in trees, and wait

for winter to stay
or summer at last to come
like we’re waiting for

the pain to stop, death
to give way to the winter
sun’s soft, warm embrace.

(our son, Brian Federle, 1986-2017)

Winter Tree

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The winter tree
does not move.

Its wide trunk
plunges into graven earth,
unseen roots, grasping hands
feel deeply the living soil,
hold firm anchorage
against the coming storm,

but rising wood, thin
though strong enough
to paint slender lines,
trails into purer air,
gives shelter
to Christmas birds.

They hunch on stems, quietly
waiting to sing open
the dawn.

(12/23/2011)

Atonement

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“There must be a time when the man of prayer goes to pray as if it were the first time in his life he had every prayed.” Thomas Merton

Grey mist
rises and falls
enfolding parched hills
easing autumn’s harsh pain

saturating the spreading valley
with gathering rain
and mercy.

(1 Oct. 2012)

The World is a Sacred Vessel

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“The world is a sacred vessel . . .” Thomas Merton

blue vessel
in black vacuum

miracle world
encircling
thrall of this perfect star

sacred vessel,
His living cup
to beloved proffered,

wedding gift
beyond measure.

(3 May 2012)

Evening Star Rising

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Evening star rising

into day’s fading sky,

alone, serene,

and wondrously bright,

surpassing dark hills

to cerulean night.

(7 May 2012)