Farther

It wasn’t the father

who was a long way off,

but these days it seems so.

It’s as though the sons

wandered off in search

of the father.

Prodigals go and come

from either end,

then end up wondering

in the in-betweens.

I thought it was just me,

yet, ain’t nobody perfect.

Come to think of it,

we all need to know

how to stay, not stray.

The gig is up, and

honesty has us squinting,

longing has us looking.

The father figure

has us striving to

figure out who he is,

who we are.

I heard my dad…

“I know what you mean.”

*

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off,

his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him,

and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

Deeper Still

Go down, step off

into the deep waters

they say…at least

they used to say.

Now we skip our

minds along the surface

hoping never to sink

into the unknown.

But is in the depths

where stillness sits

under the pressure of

context and history.

God holds my breath,

from beginning to end.

Every fear of drowning

exhaled to His lungs.

How I long to go down

Again and again–

each dive extended

in His presence.

Another Sunday

The wandering rise of morning light

Mingles in and through the crowns

Of oak and elm like broken speech.

The halting of a haunting while

This day breaks into pieces on the ground.

Light falling all around, resting on

Seemingly impenetrable surfaces.

Leave lie its’ yellow demure as it lay

in silent reflective yawns.

“Come. Recline. Bathe in my pouring.

Light loads I give you stretched

In Sabbath shine.”

The Birth of Motherhood

The first borne is a refocusing,

A wonderment which halves

Your heart in the mystery of it all.

Each half, if bonded together,

Is a doubling of your thrums,

And a healthy enlargement.

One little child is all it took.

You’re in a new identity.

We all see it, that cradling

Look you give over and over.

The center of gravity shifted,

And there you are swirling

round and round.

“What child is this?”

Is a daily question now…

Somewhat rhetorical,

Yet asked again and again

As if for the first time.

This is for all the new mothers and mother’s to be. Particularly Voilet, Kaleena, Chandra, and Sammy

Etchings

In over the dark,

Light settled on the

Bone limbs of branches.

A covering sigh

Of winter’s last whisper.

An overcast came down

To surround our small

House in the wood.

Afternoon winds on the way

To dust off the etchings

Of grace, of the silence.

Yet, for now, I can

Rest my eyes on the

Cold insulation of a

Forest waiting for full

Spring, white to green.

Look Up Psalm 19

How often I forget.

Eyes, razor-like, look on,

Gaze along the horizon,

While stars spindle down

Into my soul like a midnight

Dream, scraping the chill

Off my bones, off my bones.

*

A local poet named the dark-

Wide-skyscape beautiful; love.

I’m still looking around at

The fading shadows of

Deep evening and shallow morning.

The moon glow lifts my eyes

Off the ground, off the ground.

*

My cricked neck wearies,

So I settle in the low,

Lay in the dimple of the

Long grasses; their back and

Forth in the breeze frame

The heavens declarations

Off the heights, off the heights.

Silent Light

A few months ago I began lighting a candle as part of my morning ritual of coffee, reading, praying, and writing. The little light sits off to the side and after a while goes unnoticed…until recently.

We bought a house in the dead of winter. What emphasized that fact was more and more empty drawers and taped up boxes. When my candle dwindled down to uselessness I went for a replacement, and the only available were several Christmas gift candles. We had bought the kind which sound like a mini-crackling fire. Figuring this would add a bit more ambience, I gave one a go.   

            A couple of days in, I noticed slight slips of concentration, more than usual anyhow. This particular little light of mine had much to say. The conclusion: candles should be seen, not heard. I don’t dismiss these crack candles out of hand. My muse did though. She thought it distracted our communique. “You’re not listening hard enough,” She’d say. “What’s up with gibbering candle there?” She’d ask.

            What would it be like if all candles crackled? Imagine a fine dining situation with the love of your life… The glow highlighting the subtle curves of facial recognition. Eye contact melting into soul connection. Soft conversation. After a few minutes the spit and sputter of the center lit ambiance highjacks the focus of togetherness. Instead of staring at each other, you’re gazing at “it.”

            Or you walk into your catholic parish to light a votive or two, say a prayer, and sit quietly under the vaulted ceilings. But no, not today, because it sounds like a brush fire in the foothills. You can’t even hear your own echoing steps on the marble floors.

            I repeat, candles should be seen, not heard, when it comes to keeping silence and listening. Now, fires in the hearth are different. They are destined to speak, give off light, warmth, and an ambience for deeper refection. Campfires too. Bring a guitar, marshmallows, wieners, a circle of Adirondack chairs, and a recipe of reciprocity is complete.

            But a silent light, holy light, serves sometimes as a reminder to close our lips. Let us find place to still our souls for a bit, open the flue of our hearts, and pray. Welcome the Muse if need be. Let the lit wick melt the waxy elements of a hurried worried life.

            “I am the light of the world.” Jesus

P.S. I do like the crackling candles, by the way. They serve a purpose, but fail in joining my quiet time in the morning.

Somewhere Near Christmas

So close, just beyond this busy corner.

Has to be here somewhere.

I see the rushed paces, flushed faces;

Blank stares and unawares.

Happens every year, the fight to hear…

The little drummer boy, Angels on high,

My mother’s tired sigh.

Christmas past pasted

Like cards around doorways.

New pajamas, mistletoe,

And a ceramic manger made

By my godmother.  

Call me sentimental,

But the collective memories

Settle on the tree, tinsel-like,

Scattered, glimmering.

Does anyone use tinsel anymore?

I’m older now, as you gather.

I’ve got enough history

To fill a stocking anyway.

Midnight Mass, candles all around

The silent night of dreaming

Of peace and place and a Person.

All shall be merry,

And all manner of Christmas shall be merry.

“I Am the Light of the world.” Jesus