Winter Tree

Standard

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)

Changes

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Bird song rises
in pure, liquid waves

as golden leaves
arc, twisting
to the ground.

Heavy gold
must fall.

October heat
will give way
to winter rain.

Yet inevitably life flows
like the breeze
rising from the broad sea
to the high Sierra;

grey clouds rise
and heavy snow falls.

All living waters
give praise.

Three Poems for My Father

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i

When I last saw you
Your hands were clenched
With a rage foreign to your voice
And you were rushing inward
Away from the moon, beyond the glowing
night
Of my grief.

Yet on my way home
I saw the moon rise.

Where have you gone, then, If not
to that land behind the moon?

ii
In the emptiness above the earth
In the terrific clashing of jet with atmosphere

I heard your new voice
I saw your new hands

Tearing at the cold, hurtling steel,
Casting off silk shroud

For dark soil
And even darker rivers.

iii
If stars loom too large
Is not my window too small?

(11/24/1980)

Ohio Winter

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1 Snow Bunting, Delaware Co

Ohio stretches
endlessly blue

like the infinite wind
sightless and cold

piercing my
coatless soul

like the agonized snows
of spring.

(20 July 2016)

Wisdom

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I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race” Proverbs 8:22-31

dark mountains rise
to meet the sun,
as night drops
to the western sea

skyward
lifting joy to heaven

as dark waves clash
washing clean the past —
all pain fulfilled.

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)