January 9, 2018

After a Summer Camp Wedding, Visit to Monastery

How high the swing goes up
Depends on how far the swing goes down

But the violent heart
Hears itself best
On monastery grounds

Deer look up
To see who is coming
A car pulls small rocks
Along the road
The world is combed
By mistake
Metal spokes
Churn the multitudes


Moon in the Redwoods – Draft 1

The crickets wave
Their sleighbells
The darkened queens
Who stand tall
But frozen
With apprehension:

The cloak of Her presence
Stops every parade.

In the aisles of
Those who wait
For the ascent of light
Into the leaves


Monastery Gnats

I am the prisoner of gnats
Nightly, they seek me out
And rape my neck with their stingers,
Biting my legs with small bit teeth
With tiny pincers they pull at my cheeks
They’d have me
Scratch at my breasts
But they are monastery gnats–

They do not dare.


Crumbs from the Table

Something that has

broken off the cracker

before it has a chance

to be eaten

still has a chance to be


Taken up on a fingertip

a morsel of crisp

dies on a single tooth

melts and vanishes

and is forgotten

by the mouth


Professor of the Spheres

The trees here
Can’t compete with me
For publication or tenure
I have to think down
So they can
Meet me at eye level

I know their vulnerabilities–

I could have coffee
On the reclaimed vertebrae of
A peer, more than
One hundred years old,

Talk without fear–
Press my hands upon dark
Fur not yet polished
And hear no protest

You can’t steal my
Husband, you will
Own property
Or rent
In a nice neighborhood

Theirs is not to swim
Unless the earth ends
And then, maybe,
Tenure would be a possibility–
A permanent position:

Sailing through the galaxies.


Monastery Bear

The monastery bear
is smoking
behind the tomato plants

He is wearing a hat
in the shadows,

taking a break


Reflections On Mary

I would like to be virgin like that

–a single kiss

and she was filled

with His likeness

we didn’t even go to second base


What Can Be Learned From Walking Through the Woods

That an uneven quilt

can be beautiful

shaded wooded swathes,

brooding swatches, and then —

a burst of light over there!

Not even a tree, barely a bush

but a million small leaves in flame–

Farther in, a splotch of illuminated grass

patchwork done


unpredictable light,

radiant blades–

We walk


admiring pillars at

human height

until our eyes rise to this sight:

The dead

in the arms of the living,

how they lean, together,

Reaching for the sky



Mysterious God

I don’t know why I find it so interesting

the subtle migration of birds

through the chapel twilight

the nuns, they never sleep–

They breathe

and believe;

Breathe and believe.

Periodically, a bell rings.

And one begins to sing in an ancient warble

God hear our prayer

Over the pines, hear our prayer

Forever and ever, hear us

From the time in our minds, free us

Grant us peace, Jesus

In your love, breathe us



We shuffle and bow

in solemn configuration

Someone’s stomach resurrects

And we listen to the groan of the once dead,

Underneath a sweater,

Lava squeals on a steaming rock,

A bubble escapes and is reabsorbed

By flesh, bone,

The cushion of bodies in the sanctuary. . .

A candle flickers.


Is this spiritual hunger

being born?


[gurgle, gurgle, blip!]

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