One Morning after Rainfall in July

Little things that touch me now:

The mesquite at the head of the yard,
Gathering the whole of it into its bosom
So, like a mother

The garden post protruding, lazy-eyed,
From the fencing it was
Made to support, saying,

            “This is who I am,” and
            “Now love me for it”

And the sparrows at my feet (little busybodies)
How they work the earth,
Singing like harvesters at field

And lastly: that solitary dove atop the phone wire —
I think she must know me, judging
By the way she gazes at me now…

Would that this quiet, cool morning,
Damp with last night’s showers,
Offer some measure of solace for all

Whom life would seem to have abandoned,
Some respite for hearts haggard
With hardship and the strain of living


Trying to Justify It, if Possible


He wonders whether
or not it is enough to
admit simply that the blood
in him
is thrilling
because it is July in the desert
and the rains are coming

Questions whether
Or not he ought put
to words how the gathering clouds will 
exalt into a column over the horizon
and become heavy with
a darkness that hovered
once over the face of
The Deep

Or whether it is necessary
to elaborate on how the desert would
not be the stage it is, upon which
the Powers play,
were it any less empty

Or even to go into
how the best music
has ever been a ceaseless
call-and-response between harshness
and beauty, Life and
Death —

Difficulty measuring it all
up, because he feels so very small,
in the face of it 

On the Margins, Beauty


“— for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.” 

– From “As Kingfishers Catch  Fire,” Gerald Manley Hopkins 


Go to where the secure, for security’s sake,
have banished the seedy and the unseemly,
the crooked and the vile: God’s maimed ones

Go to where sleazies
settle, hustlers
hustle, and beggars do their begging

Go to where hope’s outskirts border wastelands of despair,
where the well-to-do have discarded
the disfigured children of their lust and ambition: 

Otherwise known as the groaning, wandering
forgotten, who celebrate an eternal scrap-metal Shakkot upon
the coiling, roaming dusts –

Otherwise known as the dispensable,
unavoidable holocausts
of the dreams and successes of a few…

Go there, to the margins,
and find your beauty.
For the face of the Lord shines in sodden faces
and in dirty places

Scenery of the Heart

All spoke
Longing, world’s
Mother-tongue – confided
It softly, in whispers;
All, in short, was the
Scenery of the heart: First,
The iron-work door, deep and
Ponderous – over there;
Then the sill, yonder: an eternal blue;
Next, visible through the window,
The birds: their
Song what
In me was unsingable…
And finally, the vintage divan,
Redolent of seasons passing
– Just opposite:
Scrolled feet, from the deepest
Core of some ancient oak;
And the upholstery,
Resounding, as of the sea…

Yes. They were your eyes. All the color
Of rest and repose not yet attained.

Was everything
In me
And a vision
Of you,
Beyond all telling,
Past all guessing,
Further than the far side
Of all previous imagining;
A gift that made me to remember
What I had never,
And yet have always,



Opening doors
Which they themselves
Are incapable of

Not to languish
There, in the wishing
Or wresting otherwise —

But to abide,
Praising it,
With unclenched hands that
Loosen, like
Sails, upon
The welcoming wind;

And to move freely
Within the guilelessly
Unattainable, content
With how
What flows forth
Generously recedes

“And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day”

Jacob Wrestling-1Convinced
Arrival would one day 
Receive him
In forerooms furnished 
With futility, strain,
Defeat – 
The like

Or (better yet): that he would catch
It prowling the gloaming tallgrass 
Beyond the dark eyes
Of women, hidden there,
And indenominate

Or (better still): wrest it
Straight from cold, 

Gazing up now
Into the swaying branches
Of the trees: how they
In the morning emptiness
That is our only
Claim, our sole
Knowing that, ineluctably,
We are all seeds strewn
Widely, stars
Set burning
Across the
Sweeping canvas:

Never touching

Veil of the Temple Torn in Two


New seed, a new

Sown in the emptiness of every night
Spent alone,
Past and future;

Culled and cultivated out of the abysses in me;

And then finally brought forth to bloom
By the tender hands
Of the One who loves me…

Oh, where are you now old man? Where have you gone?


Like the blowing of dry leaves in autumn;
Like the obsolescent crumbling of pagan marble
In twilight halls of forget…

Ave Maris Stella

You there, just now rising
Above the farthest reaches
Of all the wide-world’s longing:
Quicken the Moment of this night!
Fan the crickets (eventide minstrels) and
Candle flies (twilight danseurs) into
Life! Summon forth
Hidden springs
– long buried, almost forgotten –
Of deepening desire!

Blissful soles of mine, moon-white upon
Star-spark leaf-down and dew
Grasses – They hasten
Toward the verge of
Earth’s compass, that I might
Stretch out
And touch
You – kiss you,

Oh! To feel the radiant and pearly swell
Of pure innocence!

To burn in the silvery music
Of this moonlight!

Heart starts

               Heart sputters

                                Heart rises up…

And, suspended by your gaze,
Is slain on the altar of your beauty

A child
Once more…

Untitled #1


I am most at home
Where the air is filled
With the sound of bells

Where the Sun of Eternity
Spills out the
Open door
Of all things

Where the Nameless
Draws near in a dark wood
And suffuses lonliness
With the chaste flame of starlight

Born, we are sundered from Paradise,
Left to fumble – confusedly, mindlessly –
Through the shambles
That make up our inheritance

But I feel in this moment
– this precious, brief moment –
That the Angel has stepped aside,
Sheathed his sword of flame,
And granted admittance
Into the springtime meadows
Of our Origin:

A Grace, costing nothing
– Nothing, save what it took
To learn that it was free:

The pain of a thousand deaths
And a thousand risings



Before the steady four wheels
Of cradlebound infancy
Could become in him adolescence’s
Fledgeling, jump-start
Two, sorrow made him to know,
In the secret dwellings of his heart,
The “inconsolable origin of all tears.”

In other children, youth flourished and
Grew strong, like young cedar,
And out of their propitious lips
A summer song would issue, limpid and flowing;
And with palms thrust radiantly upwards towards the sky
(as if to offer up to God innocence’s abundant first-fruits),
They would drink copiously of the sunny breezes
(as if to, in turn, partake of the chalice
of His glory and happily, guilelessly, say, “Amen”)…

– And meanwhile, he would shudder in his room at night,
Alone, enfolded
In the yawning weft
Of Sorrow’s shadowy mantle.


Lord, you made me to be without a home
Where all the others seemed to find one;
Turned my blossoming lea into a barren landscape
Riddled, as after a fire, with the smoldering,
Broken bramble of heart-scraps,
Upon which ashes would fall, and still fall
Softly, silently, cold – the fallout of dreams…

All those long, twilight hours at Father’s,
Where with door closed Waiting
Would stretch wide and thin
– Like the growing shadows –
And the Abyss would seem to open up,
Press in upon me, and
Brush up against my face, lightly…

What were they, then? Lord,

Are you listening?

I will answer: Training days,
Training days of longing and lack,
Where longing grew strong, and lack,
To the full stature of manhood

And now a man I am become indeed.
In place of a warm hearth somewhere,
I make my home upon the stillborn plane
And wander beneath the silent firmament.
And the weight of a thousand, thousand years
Flickers dimly, like ancient stars,
Out these obsidian eyes