Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wrens and sparrows

Wrens and sparrows                                                                       

I write my poetry on a crust of bread
I found in the bottom of my pouch,

dropping crumbs along the path
for the wrens and sparrows.

I won’t be coming back
this way and no one will follow

into this particular plot of trees.
The woods are deep.  I’ll write

as long as the light holds out.
God illumines the path

only one step at a time
and my own torch has been thrown down.

It’s like a crust of bread –
the moon above the horizon.

My mortal existence is a crust of bread.
This poem is dedicated

to the wrens and sparrows.
I wish I had more to give.

O child of God, venture where there is blitheness    
in dissolution; unalloyed bliss in obliteration.

(from Spoken For - drawing by Rich Panico)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The heart's sovereignty

The heart’s sovereignty                                                                 

Mary of Bethany broke
the alabaster box of spikenard

and anointed Jesus, some of His disciples
grumbling at the expense

but, Jesus said, “She hath wrought a good work .... “
O lover, an imperfection of character

is the desire to be perfect
and a detriment to the path of surrender. 

To covet virtue is a sin ...
for covetousness is a sin.

Desire, instead, to be obedient and humble.
Non-attachment is the back road to perfection.

Desire for perfection leads through a labyrinth
of pride, shame and self-involvement

while acceptance of imperfection
constitutes a stirring turn toward surrender.

O lover, spill innocently, like Mary,
the precious oil, anoint the head of Jesus

and be marked forever as a lover
and loyal subject of the heart’s holy sovereignty.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Enter the desert

Enter the desert                                                                               

Enter the desert a wanderer,
uncharted among the dunes,

under the stars; shaped by pressures
only hinted at, half-guessed,

gestured toward; suitable to your nature,
without respite, witness or glamour –

to be a lover is to go it alone.
Swaying upon the bridge, the temptress sings;

the sculptor at the monolith, hewing away.
Caught up in a terrible game of words,

the poet grapples for whatever
endurable term might bare

a slice of the loneliness
that constitutes a human heart.

Hewing away at it ... alone –
that’s what we are

and the truth of that
is the truth of God

to be elaborated upon,
the one and only Truth – God alone exists. 

O child of God, brave the lonely perils;
seek the truth of the One and Only. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Make Good

Make good                                                                                       

All my words hang on a promise I cannot make
and cannot keep – a vanity of imagination,

breath and blood, if the promise has no maker;
if the promise has no keeper.

Shall I continue, o Lord, to tap out
Your timeworn promise on my alphabet board?

Grace, love, salvation – fine sentiments! 
but, paper-thin words, and – through my throat –

without substance or luminosity;
indistinct stirrings in the half-light,

the nether-world, the darkness
of ignorance mixed with the darkness of faith;

yet, I praise the promise and the Promise-keeper!
Lord, don’t leave me

twisting wordlessly in the wind
at world’s end but, gather me sweetly

in Your arms and make good, make good,
make good Your ancient-given promise.

O child of God, what the Beloved requires of you
is faith, forbearance, obedience and attempted artistry.

(from A Jewel in the Dust)