Angeles

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Just before nightfall
your new leaves
softly sway
in the cool delta breeze,
your limbs glint
in flames
a deeper shade
where rough trunk rises
from clambering vines,
to violet fire.

Oh! Dance with the angels!

Dance with Lord

of the Trees!

His breath will stir you to passion,
His song will lull you
to sacred sleep.

Poet to Reader

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Deep inside my silence
words glow like burning stones
plunging to dark waters.

Share with me my holy fire!
With joyful shouts,
we’ll flood the hidden rivers.

But if you leave
I cease.

My words die
without your eyes,
molder to
faded stains.

So come into my heart
and sing with me
this mystic chant!

We’ll be madmen,
hunting diamonds in the dark.

Vicksberg

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The river glints
in the morning light
as we slowly drive
past the guard-gate
and into the rolling hills
of the Vicksburg Battleground.

But there are no battles here today
in this ringing forest ,
on these wrinkled meadows;

These cannons spit no fire
into this soft Mississippi morning,
and no soldier falls, sighing
into these cool, dark earthworks.

Slowly we drive the winding road
past a bronze soldier
grasping his bronze rifle,
tensely gazing
into the empty distance, waiting
for the screaming charge,
of his deadly brothers.

But all anger spent,
they sleep now
under smart ranks
of gleaming stone;

Now they lie,
unknown soldiers,
lulled by whispering
Southern magnolias
far from forgotten
Northern homes.

(5 Aug 2011)

Morning (Good Friday)

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/5829098353/in/photolist-4Kx16z-ecPUED-ebBifu-8i3JQZ-9hVoH9-e5LpLV-btyAdw-6XzVqF-qYzHeE-cdxRC-dSTda4-9iJAV2-9T6DRK-ezu419-bTTTMX-6cVcVw-8CBwoQ-6cPDQ2-8zpm83-9Jvqks-8xMURf-7SWjys-f5eev-noweMv-66GtBJ-8C31Ss-4UUMa5-4zDwwk-ehuk1A-687mU2-9MuBKP-7BCRfM-HaT11-nmMbae-9icGzx-bEETYh-84uTRc-6o6dz1-7Toidh-bRuWiz-4R91qJ-bMfgzX-9B3PR8-7Mp8xG-9CoiFa-f3pjh-buw3Kj-7QoJzu-6o7KvG-nDmpF8/

Therefore let me know trust in the feelings of my heart.
My hope is in what the hand of man has never touched.
Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers.
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude.

Young grass
high and thick

drenched
filled to brim,

by morning sun released,
a fury of green, trees

believing that golden day
will stay.

Persist, oh life,
in the cold of winter,

and beat, oh heart!
With tender heat

as a while yet
I breathe!

(6 April 2012
rev April 2019)

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)

Father’s Lament

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DSCF8957.JPG

Photo Brian Federle, Hawaii, 2016

Spring fills this dry land
With life, yet

I cannot see your face
or embrace you with a father’s love
as I did when last you filled our lives
with your easy laughter
and beautiful eyes.

Shall I speak to you, tell how
small birds gather
in the budding apple tree
hungry no more,
filled with joy?

I cry out to you
and the startled birds
fall into silence,

Let me tell you, then,
Of my new life without you.

Deep in my side I feel endless pain
where my heart once beat;
now I merely breathe
emptiness.

My son, oh, where have you gone?
Call to me from the brilliant heights,

for deep in darkness I lie
crying to see you just
one more
time.

(for Brian Federle, 3/4/86 – 3/25/17)

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!