Suisun Spring


Photo: Brian Federle, “Camping” 3-25-2008


the green glow
of our cottonwoods
newly clothed in the gentle April sun ….

our apple tree,
still skeletal,
intimating cotton buds
promising green glory to come,

and the grass!
all winter-yellow evaporated,
shouting like a
third-grade leprechaun
skipping across the playground
in the school’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

but most unforeseen,
along the rough fence
the vinca
blazing with royal light
in the deep, verdant shade
of our cottonwoods.

(12 April 2010)


Winter Tree


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.


The Light in November


Photo: Brian Federle, Oregon, 2012.


The light in November slants low.
It fills my eyes as I glance
askance through amber trees
and see the leaves descend in
gold flashes
past my open window.

The autumn sun skirts
my low Suisun hills
casting deep shadows
along the ebbing marsh

where wading egrets probe
still, black waters

and finding their prize
rise to blue heaven,
white, slender wings
elegantly beating
the softly falling sun.


Fall Leaves


Photo Brian Federle, Camping March 2010


Wind-ripped leaves
cover my yard

severed flesh, leathery
fingers splayed
grip the brick walkway.

Flush winter roses
drop petals,
red shrouds cover
glistening gold veins
from ravaged trees.

Yet the trees survive.

mimicking death’s
grey angularity
oblivious to the wind,

nude limbs
lean into the howling storm
and dream of June breezes,
singing green afternoons,
the faithful thrush
thrusting new life to flight.

But for now
black clouds gather

the winter wind sings dirges
for these sacrificial leaves
nourishing the famished earth.

re-post 10/25/2017

Summer River


“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.



Photo: Brian Federle, Palm Springs Dawn, December 2016

daybreak, still limbs lace
to gray sky, wait for the next
storm to shake open

morning, still sleeping
shuttered windows conceal the
cold face of daybreak.

(2012, 2017)

The Gate of Heaven is Everywhere (Eclipse)


“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
overtakes fact,

and unknown stars glint
in the afternoon sky.

We never knew
they were hanging so low,

diamonds in deep

new light!

(27 Nov 2012: 21 Aug. 2017)