On the Feast of St. Stephen

The Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Peter Paul Rubens 1616-1617

“The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his striving – by which man becomes one with God.” (Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain)

See how wind tears, how
clouds ravage the sky
to shreds…

Can you hear the geese fleeing
shouting dread
as the savage storm crouches?

Are you afraid?

I know
how the sea sometimes
launches boulders;

but the stubborn land
bows and waits
and, swollen, forgives

with torrents of life;
rivers of joy.



to the center


Photo: Brian Federle, “Night”, 2014

constant hum,
music of days to
night fading; the right note, only
song you know; sum of your days, falling, falling to night.

to the
center, to
the black place to wait
for Him. Don’t call out in fear for
there’s nobody there but you and He, so silent be

how His song
fills your darkness with
light; smile at Him, your familiar
bright friend, and no longer will you fear your emptiness.

(23 Dec 2013)

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




“What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.” Thomas Merton


deep in the cathedral
love resounds

through the bright air
of paradise
love rebounds
playful, full of

Oh, hear the organ’s
profundo ring
as love pierces
your living heart

as, prostrate,
love breaks open
your breathless soul.

(18 November 2013 on the ordination of my brother)


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)

El Nino

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, 1890

fill your heart
with rush of rain,

open palms
to receive

new life
for your heart
of winter!

oh, see how
the birds
fiercely sing
my love!

(5 January 2016)

Psalm 9-11 (dedicated to Fr. Mychal Judge)


I hear your soft voice
In the hushed evening breeze
as gentle wind fills
these tall, murmuring trees.

For you’re never too far;
your soft breath I can feel.
My soul stirs with faith
that no anger can steal.

Through the cold, empty night
you fill my dark soul.
Your brilliant light breaks
death’s harsh, ancient hold.

In the morning I’ll hear
your clear voice proclaim
my life you’ve restored,
bitter tears wiped away.

(7 March 2014)