Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunset on All Soul's Day

Sunset glows
over sharp, dark ridges

rich with vermilion
and ruddy blush

as gathered souls stretch
incarnadine fingers

in clouds sweeping  down
to bless bleak coastal hills.

For their love arises
from the raw, bleeding sun,

their golden breaths
coalesce
into pure, lucid song.

(1 Nov 2011)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

black door

black door,
impenetrable portal
to the silent night,

when a sudden train rushes,
filling the darkness
with wailing desire,

and suddenly is gone.

Now only my fingers linger.
pressing your giving flesh.

(10/18/2014)

The Vine

The ugly stump, desolate, dead
and too deep to pull, waited for my saw,
but I, lazy and pre-occupied, lingered
as winter inundated
the mud and rock desert
outside our kitchen window.

Then spring came, and all excuses spent,
I slogged out, grim executioner,
ready to cut and pull,
when I beheld green, craggy fingers praying
for just one more chance;
so putting the saw back into our messy garage,
we began the project,

raking, hoeing, cutting, digging
(hard work for a lazy man)
and soon sod to lay
and bricks to haul for a patio,

when, bushwhacked, we spied
the truant stump
proclaiming itself a grape vine,
stringy runners running rampant
through the little garden we built around it,
hooked fingers grabbing for anything
to pull nascent leaves up,


up to the warming April sun,


out of the dark winter earth,

and alarmed we cut it back, fearful vintners,
afraid for threatened geraniums
and knock-out roses,

but a treaty agreed upon, the vine settled
for one corner and left the rest
to more delicate flora.

Life will not be denied
in our backyard.

(4/10/2009)

Friday, October 17, 2014

First Rain

first waves of grey
push in from the sea
impatiently  driving through
wind-thrashed trees

my back yard's aglow
with the strange, filtered sun
red garden blooms sway
against dark, stoic trunks

Oh,inhale the sharp fragrance
of autumn's first rain!
infuse your dry world
with life once again.

(10/18/2010)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Origami Master

"Perfect openness born of complete self-surrender, brings us into uninhibited contact with God." Thomas Merton

My soul's a sheet
of flat paper,
unfolded and featureless 
until your hands press
and pinch, pleat
my stubborn fears
to your desire.

You know what fills
my nascent core
and never give me up
but with your strength
to fine edge crease
and make of me at last 
angel's wings.

(10/15/2012)

The Baptism

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.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Shoemaker




The children watch his hands
strain against leather, tug
tough hide, obdurate skin,
once supple and alive, 
now stiff and dry,


see how his patience,
like love,
wears death down
until new shoes grow
in his strong hands.

They learn to bend 
life's refuse
to new use,

how being 
always finds 
purpose.

Thus, in lines of memory
we measure our days.

The ancestors guide us
as we build new form
from old tears,

and our children
watch
and learn.

(6/12/2013)

_________________________________
Shoemaker, Hung Liu, 1999, oil on canvas, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA