The Haggard Face of Sleep

Haggard face
The face looks out of the mirror on the wall,
At first haggard from brutality of restless sleep—
Puffy eyes, wrinkles on morning’s brow,
Mind wonders if the vintage heart still beats.

I stand there staring, growing older by the minute,
Bones creaking from aging, soft decay of ligament,
Tangled memories leaking salt, dehydrated sagging flesh.
And all I can think is that my hair’s a bloody mess.

Where is the man I was not many years ago—
Before complexity, able to endure the dancing night?
Hot feelings of the groin seem lost, washed away
Like topsoil eroded on the farm back home.

Will ever again I stand before a burning bush—
Sense the warmth of God, hear the Voice
Calling yet to greater things, wild eternal dreams—
Or only thorny rose, lonely cross, and healing grave that waits?

Now I pause, walk to shower with folded wings….
Trust hot water will restore a breath of rising hope—
A lark, a dove, some Spirit now absorbed,
Then walk again with head held high into a wider hour.

Ask Not for Holy Explanation

Assisi-30
Years ago, walking the streets of Assisi
I followed footsteps of St. Francis,
Prayed in places where he prayed,
Picked flowers in the same fields.

I did not see him in any vision—
No voices heard within the silence,
No dreams that urged me closer,
No intervention that came as blessing.

I still believe in heaven—
Here surrounding, patient, loving presence….
Some say that when you love the world
You can hear music in the wind.

If you’ve not seen something moving
When you glimpse the Whole,
Do not ask for holy explanation.
Just love the stillness of unknowing.

Tonight, sitting in peaceful contemplation
I’m grateful for Francis now in Rome.
He knows vital truth that without mercy,
No song of Earth fully sounds its worth.

Suddenly I feel a twitch, blink three times—
Think perhaps I see glimmering web
Intentionally cast over Earth.
Now I can let go and welcome sleep.

In Brilliant Fall, I Walk the Streets

Brilliant FallIn brilliant fall, I walk the streets,
Shuffling yellow and orange leaves
Upon the ground and under feet.
Here I find upon this Earth
Breath of Christ still giving birth.

Against resilient wind, inception pours….
No less concerned with death than life.
He dwells in beauty of the brilliant air,
Haunts each night as Moon that stares
Inside each soul in search of truth.

Within he stabs or softly whispers,
Confounds the mind with unwearied caring—
Stands up and speaks— no words,
No secrets held in hesitation,
Reveals what it is to be eternal God…..

He sings and I hear though I am deaf.
He moves, I watch though I am blind.
He weeps and there I find myself most touched,
Embraced, forgiven in clear, new light,
Pushed or pulled and strangely blessed.

Are You Close or Far, Far Away?

Are You Close or Far Away?
I’ve never mentioned your name to friends—
I’ve never said I love you but it’s not because I hate you.
It’s just that it takes time to get used to you,
To be honest, already you’re there inside my dreams.

Surely you know if you were here
There’d be no empty space between…..
I suppose I started to think about you
When I was maybe about fourteen.

But then for years you faded from sight.
Perhaps I tried to cross you out,
Like a line of writing I wanted to erase
Completely, lost as I was in the dark.

Though for years I’d forgotten you,
Somehow you finally found me again.
Do you think I owe you an apology?
I can’t decide when I’m all mixed up.

How can you be so close
Yet still be so far, far away from me?
Will we ever be able to watch
Sunrise and sunset at the same time?

It’s hard to go to sleep without you…..
Please explain how someone so far away
Can both touch my heart yet cause me pain?
Please God, just tell me what you’re trying to do.

With You, I’m Trying to Find My Way

Trying to Find My Way

Sometimes when it’s raining hard at night,
Cold wind swirling leaves upon the yard,
I think I hear you out there
Walking on the path.

I run outside and shine a light,
But dark has swallowed you.
Though I search until I’m soaked,
I only find where you are not.

Should I place a candle in the window,
Just in case you come again—
Leave the door unlocked,
Towel for you to dry yourself?

With you, I’m trying to find my way.
You are the one who lights my days.
In empty rooms, I find you everywhere.
With each prayer, you are closer than my words.

The only thing I ask of you—-
Lighten my darkness where I dwell.
Tend my pain and soothe me.
Hold me at morning with your love.

Before Morning Comes

Before Morning Comes

Living alone, there’s not much to keep me awake,

Sleeping with only moonlight

Shining on my grandmother’s antique quilt.

I hear Spirit dog’s quiet breathing,

Unless she has disturbing dreams.

True, there are occasions when sounds of distant train

Whistles through windows facing east,

Or house creaks against the wind,

Branches fall upon the roof in storms….

Disrupt my peaceful sleep.

There are times I leave my bed

Cold moonlight still dominant

As it rests quivering over hills beyond the lake.

Do you love your life, even when

Restless spirits visit in the night?

Can you sense a space withdrawing….

Opening, watching through the night

Perhaps four feet above your sleep?

Voices whisper, singing of the evening—

Hymns of love transforming fear to deeper peace.

Sometimes I wake crying as a child,

Uneasy with desire, reaching out to touch,

Wanting every question answered

As though the sky at night could hold

Such bright affirmations before the morning comes.

Do I Love or Let Go?

Do I Love or Let GoThe heat of summer’s gone now—
Whatever voice of thunder comes
Trembles in a stirring heart,
Dwells deeper as light grows weaker.

Water of the lake turns colder by the day,
Waits like liquid mercury in early morning mist,
Stone grey ripples on its surface,
Whatever life it harbors hidden until spring.

Flocks of birds are flying south.
Before dawn, I hear them crying as they take flight
Toward some silent quiet space beyond my sight.
I feel cold tears run down my face.

Do I hold on to love of flowers even as the summer dies?
Or do I learn to let go, surrender as falling leaves
To inevitable white death of winter,
Or do as friends now do— flee south along with birds?