Thursday, August 30, 2012


Flood-swollen air lingers
over my backyard, grass spongy
from prolonged rains. Sodden
pine boughs litter the green
while cardinals and finches
argue over available slots
in the sunflower feeders.
Children storm-freed
from classroom regimes,
these feathered evacuees
gorge greedily on dry seeds
while communal hummers
drink deeply the sweetened
water from plastic flowers.
Inside the comfort of my kitchen,
I can only watch and wonder
what air currents have tossed
them into my yard, led them
to the refuge of my roofed porch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Reflected light whirls and quivers
on the bottom of the pool as I slug
through my eighteen laps. Will
I try for twenty-seven or be content
with an easy half-mile? I peer
through goggles to discern an answer
in the gyrating pattern, a strange
hieroglyphic meant for me.  I cave
at twenty-one, a compromise
with promises to do better. Driving
home in wet sweats, I listen
to an interview, a women obsessed
with the history of Hong Kong peeping
from an abandoned cemetery.  Her voice
rests on the first white woman to step foot
on Chinese soil, a seventeen-year-old
American missionary who died ten years
later, worn out from bearing five children.
Her story resonates in the artificial
language, the shadows on the underside
of the pool, a message missed.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We melt into the old hymns
hearing not the theology
but the emotions of tradition,
the voices of mothers
and fathers, the sounds
of inherited faith. They sooth
our spirits, comfort us
when the night terrors
disrupt our sleep, the monsters
doze beneath our beds.

Friday, August 17, 2012


There is not world enough and time
for all the kings men to defeat
the band of angels at heaven's gate.

The nightrider tells me that the cave
in the wilderness is the place to come to. 
If necessary, he will ford the flood
to realize his promise to meet me
in the green glen.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Who doesn't have thoughts of Noah
when the waters rise, when creeks
threaten to subsume landed banks?

Ark logic seems more than myth
when we hang on the branches
of the trees that once sheltered

the pool where we were baptized
on a warm August day, clear skies
above our innocent faith.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Light in August is dimmed
by fall rains. The sound and fury
of uncontrollable winds, limbs
falling on hamlets and towns.

These rains, intruders in the dust,
bring mosquitoes to the mansion
where I lay dying, listening
to the requiem for a nun. Faint

memories of  spiritual fable--
Go Down, Moses--structure
a pylon for reivers who would
cry Absalom, Absalom!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ode to the Egret

He stood on the concrete platform
complete and secure
within himself
despite the morning traffic
just above
his head.
Like some deacon
the morning prayer,
hands behind
his back, belly protruding,
he could not be bothered
by lesser mortals.
He lingered
the drainage ditch
where succulent crawfish
hid in murky backwash.

Monday, August 13, 2012

School Again

I round the corner by the junior high musing
            that the intersection will be crowded
                        in the morning

when school resumes. A doe and faun
            cross in front of me, the faun
                        struggling to keep the pace.

Aware of the sudden upswing of traffic
            at that hour, the doe has already
                        rung the schoolyard bell.

Her deer-child studies the dangers
            that separate lush yards
                        from the woods beyond.

She'll be safe now, and I will settle in
            from my morning swim to translate
                        Odysseus meeting the Cyclops.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Call to Worship

We have entered a sacred place on this holy day
            expecting God to reveal himself to us in a fresh
                        and marvelous way.

            We bring the fragility of our lives and ask for healing.

            We bring our shortcomings and our failures
                        and ask for forgiveness.

            We bring our strengths and weaknesses
                        and ask for blessing.

We come committing our minds,
            our hearts,
                        our souls
                                    to the indwelling of God’s spirit.

            We yield ourselves to the sacred intention
                        of this hour.

As we gaze upward at the octagonal lights of this sanctuary,
            we desire the fullness of the light
                        we know to be God
                                    to shine upon us,
                                                to shine through us
                        illuminating the worlds in which we live.

And now at the chiming of the hour, we give ourselves
            wholly and completely to the worship of the one
                        who gives us life,
                                    who gives us being.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Anthropomorphizing the Chameleon

A mesh bag of daffodil bulbs
            failed to meet their destiny
                        last October--no blooms

in March--but nature is resourceful.
            Waiting patiently
                        on my covered patio,

they've become the answer
            to one chameleon's heart
                        desire. He's obsessed

with what he can't quite reach.
            Crawling over the porous
                        bag, his color shifting

from green to brown, he can't quite
            leave them alone. What's he doing?
                        Making a tiny supper

from their bulk, sharing his love
            for his world, my yard?
                        Or is he crowing

in chamo-speak that he is free
            and they are not. He is exactly
                        what he was born to be.