On Waking

(An abandoned fragment.)

We long of the breaking of day
Where the dawn spills over
And washes the shadows and lies
We have told ourselves and each other.


An Irrational Covenant

A single old man,
The righteous one, drunk and naked.
(With creation, rejecting its nature.)
Oh upright! One of the last
Of a nearly ruined race.
And Yahweh stoops down,
Bright wings hovering,
And wraps it all in an everlasting embrace.


(Mark 2:1-5, Psalm 54)

The flood surges,
        washes, breaks upon
The stone centered
        in the stream.

All the violent raging
        pours against it,
And it takes it all –
        Absorbs it all.

It loves it all –
       loves it all!
And against the permanence
       of such love,

       (after the event)
The waters are living and still.
       At peace, and still.

Untitled, #2

(To R.M.E., for the friendship and gift of conversation.)

There is a beauty that occurs
Only after long hours of sitting
On the bench where the path curves
Slightly to the right and back up the hill.

The stillness of the clouds and
The slow sun diminishing
Act as a balm and salve for
The noise and anxiety of the engines below.

“Be still!” they whisper in invitation.
“See the slow love and life under all things.
This world is a garden, long germinating,
Every patient root and shoot; infinity!”

Every second possessing an echo of the consummation
The kingdom in fractals; on every level
Exists beauty and love and the weighty
Peace of holiness —

In quiet persistence.

On Painting Barns Under Threat of Gravity

(Matthew 6:19-34)

The paint rests in the aluminum can,
Hoisted up the scaffolding to be poured out
Into the plastic tray where it expands,
Sitting until spread throughout
The center and edges of the roller.
Then, to the barn wall, carried by hand,
It fills the space, thicker than water,
And rests on the cedar wood where it stands.

I, poised upon the tall metal framework,
Rest my weight on its joints and wield brush
And pan, secure and carried. Yet at the jerk
Of the scaffold my breath is caught — hushed,
Until I see it still stands, nor even leans.
At rest, I grab the pail with paint flecked thumb
And fill the tray for the last bare beam;
I learn to be carried for the Kingdom.


The world spins and spins
Madly on toward its end
And we, straining, knuckles white
Hold on in vain, for in our flight
We turn with centripetal force
Around his love, that, holding us
Is stronger than gravity. To the ground
Secured, we are, by a sweeter sound.

Captain’s Log, 2017.11.20

(Note: occasionally, at the fullness of time, the author may post a “Captain’s Log,” a brief note on the day(s) which may or may not be accompanied by photos and video. Though six days past, this shall be the first of such posts.)

Yesterday was a day given to water; to the lake cloven in two by the highway, and to the river that shaves the East side of downtown. To the sky as well, baptized and invited into the performance by these late remembered words from C.S. Lewis: “On a fine day when the sky makes the water blue and the wind fills it with ripples, one might almost take it for an arm of the sea.” Yet altogether it was a day wherein the struggle to find beauty in all things (and thus find I AM in all things) was strong (though he does not know how to be absent). It is a strange thing to feel a sense of exile in one’s own home, but to some extent such is the experience of all Christians from time to time. A great chasm of loneliness opened as well — yawning, inconsiderate and pompous — by noon. A small, charming deli was visited, and a fantastic quiche was discovered. Still, the day marched forward under a shadow, yet with the increased sense of God’s silent presence in all experiences of weariness (thanks to the more honest songs of Andrew Peterson and The Oh Hellos).

Come morning the sun broke the foliage of the nearby pecan trees, cast its arm through my window, and smote my heart. The rest of the day has continued on with the embrace of both presence and pain, and joy that is most full when partnered with sorrow.

(And may this day be given to the ladybugs, who have begun their invasion).