When Holiness is Visible

2010 Fall Lake
Today the beauty of the lake
Reached out, called me, touched my soul—
Made me want to walk
Down to the dock and dive
Into cold October water.

I’ve taken years to finally learn
To listen and respect such calling.
Though sometimes I sit in silence,
I’ve never heard God speak in words.
But I know God calls through beauty.

Have you not walked at night
When alone and lonely in the moonlight?
Have you felt the wind comb your hair?
More than once, I’ve surrender to the rain
Pounding on the roof, until I walked outside
To be baptized yet again.

I know the world is sacred—
Have felt its windy breath against my face.
Gaze into burning bonfire at night,
Open heart to wonder as old Moses did—
Take off your shoes and do not miss the whisper.

This afternoon, I slowly walked to the dock,
Knelt upon rough wood,
Reached down into clear water,
Prayed for Beauty to hold me,
No need for answers or explanations.

Looking up into bright blue sky,
I saw white clouds I had never seen before,
Moving gracefully over trees, streams, mountain—
Suddenly a holiness became visible,
Whether before or within my eyes matters not at all.


Autumn Meditations

Autumn Meditations
Always, there is early warning, subtle shift of color
As deep rich greens of summer fade toward fall,
Yellow creeps into the veins as light lessens,
Hints that season will soon be changing.

Come early October, the pace is quickened,
Leaves turn gold and yellow and redden on branches
As though in fiery competition for attention.
Occasional gaps open among treetops in the distance.

We cannot blame the trees for this—
They too are called to change
From summer’s sprawling lushness to
Contend with winter’s white revision.

Nothing is exempt from dying.
Every year the train comes right on schedule.
Standing on platform of my life,
I watch as leaves begin to fall.

The falling does not take long.
Gust of wind or driving rain and they rest
Upon the ground— forever fallen underfoot.
Yet there is abiding glory in all of this.

Raking leaves from walkway and lawn
All the way to twilight— and still they fall until trees are bald.
When I was young, this was great fun.
Now even in autumn’s beauty, I see within a little death.

Each fall there comes a startling moment—
Suddenly I am slowly walking Home…
A letting go turning me to dust,
Weightless as I drift away toward dark.

The Threshold

"Headwinds" ---Fred Turpin's Poetry Blog

Before I go to bed
the darkness of the night
turns a gentle shade of gray,
announcing dawn an hour away.

I dip into the sheets
just as the wren’s first trembling
bursts forth in song
from trees across the road.

I am at a threshold,
between wakefulness and sleep,
darkness and the dawn,
the stillness and the song.

This is the time
when dew forms on grass
but does not fall,
lingering for the sun.

The waters of the lake are still,
its luminescence hidden in fog
that hugs the  waterline
and shrouds the world in silence.

This is the time
when the spirit of reproach
yields to the spirit of blessing
and the dead are given voice to speak.

This is the time
of silent necessary prayer,
when prostrate before the face of God,
even angels begin to weep.

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Walk Softly Into Fine Dark Spaces

Mysterious Forest in the Pacific Northwest

I cannot speak for you, only what seems true for me.
As I step away and look, the Spirit always waits in darkness,
Complex, quiet, often making itself known
Through hints and whispers.
When discerned, the presence of this Spirit is always special,
Though I think it waits in the silent empty spaces.

Actually, I’d say it is an ordinary thing,
If only we were trained to see, had ears that could hear,
Were intuitive or perceptive enough to sense its presence.
But we move quickly through days of our lives,
Paying no attention— unless we suffer,
Lose in love or death comes close.
Something extraordinary needs to happen
To see this ordinary thing.

Allow the mighty Self to fade in quiet meditation.
Sit or slowly walk in silence until undone—
Until you are touched, embraced even once in a lifetime.
There is nothing you can do to force this situation.
Learn which ways your Spirit goes
Or speaks in images within deep sleep.
When you meet, there is both knowing it and never knowing.

I wish I could show you a certain path,
But coming back along another’s course would be irrelevant.
We both know how singular the work bends —-
We live in times where people try to escape the pain,
But at times such path can also teach us.
Honor the light that waits within the veil of darkness.

Go into inner gap where boredom waits.
Practice dying, let go of everything you’ve acquired.
Stop trying to escape the past or plan your future.
Take off your shoes in this holy moment—
Walk softly into your fine dark spaces.

Swift As A Trembling Eye


Quietly I sit, back braced against fading night,
Watching for first break of morning,
Breathing cold mountain air, arms sweatered against the chill.
This dawn— blue mountains frame the Great Face,
Slowly lifting as it always does above shapeless sleep,
Mysterious vapor rising from dreamy lake.

This sacred moment passes quickly— never to return—
Like smoke, like victory, like God that wakes to
Walk across this pristine Earth, tranquil and at peace.
There is no need to pray, for prayer is everywhere,
Emerging so deeply within my Being that words
Seem stiff and strained while wordless wonder reigns.

Just before light breaks forth— comes a sound—
A doe slowly walks across this holy sight,
Her silhouette dark against the water’s mirror
As in some ancient fairy tale where breath is held,
Waiting for entrance of the Prince of Peace.
Even a sigh might startle this broidery of opal sight.

Swift as trembling eye kisses newborn day,
Spirit hastens on her way— Orison comes,
Consumes the night and in succession
Casts his splendor upon awakening Earth.
I stretch my limbs and stand to claim,
Preserve this gift in quiet memory and verse.


They Turn the Wind to Whispers

Old pinesThey make their stand together,
Huddled so they turn wind to whispers.
As fog creeps in, they seem to soak their feet,
Raise their skirts above bony knees,
Thin long legs more sturdy than they seem.

Always humble, never single do they speak,
But candid in their contribution to the glade.
This stand of pine was here before my birth.
I trust they’ll still be standing when I’m gone.
One language do they speak with needle tongues.

If you are running fast, you’ll miss their quiet grace.
Pause one morning in your hurried race;
Breathe deeply into your lungs the fragrance offered.
Be grateful for what they offer to the world.
Tell me what you think they whisper in full moon.

Each Day as Sweet as Honey

bee on flower

Old hive where bees once lived,

Now empty, hollow, swarms

As memories of the dead, still buzzing,

Buzzing alive and sweet as honey.

Walk deeper into inner path,

Past swirling leaves upon the quiet road,

Rolling in the strong, cold wind—

Journey from past into the Now.

Inside my quiet mind, I see Buddha sitting

Tranquil upon his lotus flower.

Within my open heart, I find Jesus loving,

Standing in pools of prayer and sunlight.

Roll away the stone and once again,

Lazarus walks out with courage,

Knows that every journey has its end,

Yet celebrates each hour of breath with Joy,

Tastes each day as sweet as honey

Made by buzzing, working bees

Who flew among ten thousand flowers

But never thought to count their number.