Soul On Fire

Soul on Fire

Soul On Fire

When the soul is on fire,

So much freedom in the flames.

Free to release what’s hidden down inside…

Do you feel like dancing in the heat?

Do you babble, like the brook down the road?

Do you beg? Do you pray? Do you cry?

It may be true, that I write only to me.

Yet you are here in my mind,

Whether or not I know your name.

Come sit beside me and say hello. It’s been too long.

Let’s share as we’ve never shared before.

How long since you’ve been free to be you?

Are we strangers? Of course—

Usually, I’m a stranger to myself!

No wonder we share tension of loneliness.

At night, I hear the wind whisper:

“Read Me! Hear my voice and listen!”

And I know that Love has come to rescue me.

Within the flames of Love, I am born again.

Born in freedom to find what’s deep inside.

Why else, after all, would I write poetry?

Follow Your Grief

Follow Your Grief

Follow your grief for three days,

Like a hunter tracking wounded prey,

Carefully looking for blood upon the way.

Go down to the shore of the lake alone,

Where the white deer lies exhausted—

Having refused to enter dark water to save its life.

Be respectful in the silence…

Where only your own breath disturbs the tranquil air,

Your heart pierced by what you cannot hear or see.

Watch as shadows formed by Sun

Slowly lengthen to encompass both you and deer,

Life and death held, embraced and kissed in gentle light.

There is no need to speak.  No words will come.

One single tear forms within your eyes,

Then slowly falls upon your cheek.

So What Do We Say About Love?

What About Love?

It took me months to finally realize

Your essence was most visible when you are absent,

My mind seeing you more clearly at night than in day,

Remembering your scent, your smile, the way you kiss—

These things that lingered only in memory.

As I now recall, your eyes seemed to have

Their own gravitational pull, still they tug at me even now

When I don’t want to remember quite so vividly—

But I do, especially at night as I always do.

Are you haunted by memory of how tenderly we touched?

If you are not, then I am utterly alone.

Maybe I love you and can’t see you’ve left me.

So I try to avoid the thought that you’re gone—

Which scares me to think I’m now in love with a ghost.

What can I do but sit under the Moon for hours?

Never would I bind you by promise, by obligation—

As though the ring you once wore would remind you

That I gave you my heart…. Do you remember that day,

So far away when we had no need of memory because

You were here, when we touched as we dared get close?

Lewis writes that grief feels much like fear—

It is not fear, but it feels cold and quietly comes

With fluttering in the stomach. Is the same true of love?

Love can bring sharp clarity. But clarity sometimes brings confusion

As the dance brings you close, then spins you further away.

So what do we say about love?

That as we love, we always learn humility.

We love someone enough to respect the wisdom

Of another who gives grace to our life.

And if suffering is part of love, then I am content to suffer.

Meanwhile, the World Awakens

Meanwhile, the World Wakes Up

In the beginning, there was the voice of the Father

Speaking not with words, but music, rising,

Falling as does thunderous beauty,

Parting a small opening in the soul

Where only tears could flow.


Then last night’s gentle rain

Seemed to heal as it brought relief,

Greening to this wondrous world….

Slowly, beyond ability of conscious mind to grasp,

Sleeping as it tends to do through night.


This morning when I woke, there was

Mist upon the lake, floating without limits,

Beyond boundaries imposed by any human,

Touching blinking eyes, the naked skin of body—

Cooling as every thirsty pore was satisfied.


But the marvel had not finished

As Old Buttery Fingers of the Sun reached out,

Parted floating fog— brought clarity

As first the mountain emerged,

Then peaceful lake reflected patient beauty.


This beauty did not thunder, but was gentle—

Quiet morning light told stories long forgotten

Of small island in the lake.

Perhaps the promise of the dream

Had not come true, but there is still time.


Meanwhile, the world awakens—

Chorus of birds disturb the nesting swans—

They spread white wings and swim together,

Paddling furiously so hidden turtles

Will not divide and kill their young.


All I now know is that I am not alone.

There is no need to worry about

What seems yet unprepared by wordless prayer.

I am in love. I could not ask for more

Than time enough to share this love with you.


Threading a Needle


Perhaps you’ve sat for twenty minutes,

Or if far more holy than I am, for an hour or more,

And tried to pray with pure intensity,

Thinking of nothing but your wish

To be ONE with God.

It’s like sitting on a chair in bright sunlight,

Trying and trying to steady shaky hands

As you attempt to thread the eye of needle.

You lick the thread again and again.

You clean your reading glasses twice.

You turn off all music in the house.

Without concentration, you cannot focus,

Never reach the goal without steady purpose.

Again and again you try to thread the needle

Without saying “damn” or even worse.

Then suddenly as if a fog has lifted,

You see the eye of needle in your shaking hand

Has always had a thread—

Perhaps a thread so fine

It would heal a bleeding heart.

Go Fishing for Joy, Using Your Soul for Bait

Fishing for Joy

When was the last time
You met someone who changed your life—
After even an hour you could not sense your breath,
Replaced instead by humming in your chest?
If you’re sitting and waiting for a savior,
You may suffer from too ordered behavior.

Even the gods aged, fell asleep and died.
They suffered from desiring safe passage,
A preoccupation of those whose years
Accumulate as weight within the soul.
Be instead as a firefly that glows,
Looking for joy on summer evenings.

Eventually, everyone takes the same breath,
Breathing the same atoms of oxygen
Recycled from lungs that exhaled
Perhaps a continent away,
Caught by unseen winds that circulate.
Why not sing from the songbook that is the world?

Go fall in love. Seek justice without going to war.
Write poetry. Cover the canvas with your own blood.
On the first days of spring,
Don’t wait for birds to come.
Take the Eucharist from my words,
Go fishing for Joy, using your soul for bait.

Myself Not Included?


How do I know when the day will come
When I’ve worn out my welcome—
Have exhausted all second chances,
Last vestiges of youth depleted?
Has anyone told you?

Damn thing is, I can’t imagine it,
This world without me a part of it.
But if it comes, as I sometimes fear it may,
Then do I truly understand
Death is completely safe?

Should I long for resurrection—
Escape the darkness that atheists embrace,
Or hope to transform, cast off this body,
Move on to other pastures, other worlds,
Begin the game all over again?

Some believe in a heaven,
Streets of gold and huge mansions.
They’ve picked out furniture for
Every room they’ll occupy,
Know who will share adjoining bed.

Others think stardust turns to living flesh,
Back to stardust— universes where
Everything is used and then recycled.
Does that give you deep purpose? Hope?
Can you trust in free will? If not, can I save you?

No one knows the reality of Reality.
The puzzle too big to see full picture.
How many pieces are there?
Are any missing, torn or turned to dust?
Where is belief without doubt and imagination?