Tuesday, August 8, 2017



I consulted a dictionary,
thick as any gravestone,

the meaning of each word
only given in terms of other words

whose meanings must also be
looked up and so ...

around and around we go --
illusory, inclusive world of words

created by barking, braying,
warbling and lamenting,

cooing, crooning, flesh-throated human beings --
our wordiness letting no truth in edgewise.

Your love I find inexplicable, indefinable, unutterable --
Your love -- all You ever talked about (in Your silence).

Silence I dare not keep -- the truth of myself
might shine forth for all to see.  I dare not shine.

I dare not embrace, so I go home
and write a poem about shining, embracing --

a pillow made of my dictionary,
an ottoman of my phonebook.

O child of God, words never tell the Truth
yet, they are the only means at our disposal.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Over the jasper walls

Over the jasper walls

If this was paradise, I would want out --
over the jasper walls one night ...

or ducking back through the pearly gates.
If pleasure reigned, every heart's desire

quelled and answered, suffering eased,
death overcome, I would still want to know --

to know -- not the truth but, Who.  Who.
I believe, anyway.  I feel as much.

If everyone on earth were angels of mercy --
wore wings -- of kindness, generosity,

I would still be missing a stone,
an aching hole in the wholeness.  O Lord,

must my wanderings take me back ...
all the way ... all the way ... beyond, beyond?

Beyond, beyond ... is that home?  That unimaginable,
perfect silence and stillness before the journey began;

before the imaginary bits of Yourself were gathered
and scattered and pressed into service?

Reaching down into myself, I yield, probe and open --
What is the essence of this longing and Who,

o Lord, o Lord -- no names or descriptions --
Who is my Beloved?  Who is my Beloved?

O child of God, let the tide of mystery within you
rise and swell ... then, inexorably, sweep you away.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

In the drink

In the drink

Everyone is in the drink --
laboring to keep their heads above water;

no piece of solid real estate
in this vast sea of illusion

upon which to make a stand,
gain a foothold -- a perspective, stability, bearings.

Some are swift and fancy swimmers,
others fat and lightly floating,

some sink like stones but,
everyone, everyone is in the drink,

paddling about, waiting for the One
Who walks upon water;

Who surveys the horizon and sets the course;
Who offers navigation, buoyancy, consolation;

truth, hope, explanation.
Be kind, o child, and dubious,

studious and soft-spoken;
be clear-headed, one-pointed, alert.

O child of God, everyone is in the drink
until they drown in the Ocean of Love.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Love Tokens

Love Tokens

O child of God, your heart is a flower,
sometimes open, sometimes not.

Once again, the Sun walked the earth,
mankind ignoring the Light in its midst.

In twilight now, the stars peek out
and a moon of purest silver.

Sing, o nightingale, for me.  I've lost my voice.
The Rose is silent, also, for reasons of Its own.

How could I have known, O Beloved, Your language?
Or what love tokens You would accept.

I was a stranger in Your court.
You threw open the doors of Your treasure house.

Eventually, this old heart will collapse upon itself.
In the ruins, someOne may build a fire.

O child of God, burnt by desire for union;
rejoice the day you come home - your whole house in flames!

(from The Garden of Surrender)

(Drawing by Rich Panico)