Meditation at San Damiano


San Damiano retreat Center[2]

dark veins fill my sight
lying dendrites firing doubt
through my fragile faith,

denying all escape

but as these steps rise up the steep hill
and converge into the unseen sky

I climb
to my blue redemption,

and free.

(20 Aug. 2010)

Consoling Martha


Freely flow her fears;
a dam so brimful
cannot contain
such towering waves.

Wondering that
my words fail
to give peace,
I reach out
and take her trembling hands.

I brush away
all her
bitter tears

(13 April 2011)

You Speak


“I am myself a word spoken by God. Can God speak a word that does not have any meaning?” Thomas Merton


You speak
and I breath the air
that you imagine,

smile, and like the calling bird,
I rise to the sun!

But when my selfish soul
swells with self-
sent hell
you wake me,
and expel me
from my troubled sleep.

Oh, I yearn for that day
when forgiven and
by your love
I’ll steadfastly abide
in your constant light.

(2 February 2012)

Sunset, Christmas Eve


Light’s nearly gone
bare trees flare gold

sun descends,
day turns cold.

Old world ends
in a brilliant flash

but from the east
hope springs at last

fresh from a child
drawing first breath,

as the tawdry cycle
of night and day,

the hopelessness
of fear and hate

new love overwhelms
as new day begins

with first holy breath
of this God-infant.

(24 December 2011)

The Other Brother



It was a hot day in the field
when, returning at last
bone-tired, sore from
tending your stiff-necked flock,
I saw bonfires,
extravagant blazes lighting
the way to our house,

but not for me
home late from

so I asked your servant
“why such celebration?”

That’s when my anger exploded;
…poor fellow, he bore my rage
and yelping away
cried it wasn’t his fault!

No, it wasn’t.
It isn’t.

It’s You.

You ask me to obey
and obediently I honor you every day.
With sweat and callused hands,
I cajole this stingy land
to give up a little wheat.
With my blood
I water these fields;

but when I wanted to show
my friends a little generosity,
I asked you for a stingy goat,
a meager feast, and
you said “no.”

So here he is, come home at last,
profligate brother…prodigal,
wastrel, drunkard,

He’s back
and suddenly the prize calf
I worked so hard to make so fat is slain,
a royal feast for your favorite son
(though somewhat late) come home again!


as always
my anger fades
in the glow of your summer love.

I don’t like this!

but you tell me
that your love does not diminish
but increases with the giving…

and, after all,
it is not every day that one’s brother
is to life recalled.

So for you, father,
I’ll look him in the eye
and let him back
into my life.


Bridge at Rio Vista

The bridge stands low
over the swollen
Sacramento,black water,
rushing to
darker seas,hypo-thermal,

sucking breath
from the fallen,
the overboard,

the suicide.

Its sturdy stanchions,
hold fast

and give refuge
from the maelstrom,

a way across

or a place
to jump.

Holy Saturday


Storms pass, winds subside
life abides.

See how the cottonwoods
spread new leaves,
fill the blank sky with
emerald sheen
as waving vines praise
the living spirit
of spring,

for soon the shrouded sun will flame
through constraining mists
and in glory rise to complete
this forgiven world
and set it free.

I’ll Fill the Sky


I’ll fill the sky
with my desire.

With heart of fire
I’ll scorch the pride
that binds your fear,

with withering sun
I’ll quench with your tears,
and shed my blood,
a cleansing flood of
ending love.