Mom (for Bethany)

She was the best mom.

In hard times, she’d put a Bible under my pillow

so words of comfort mingled with my dreams.

(Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great joy.)


She never let a stranger-child go hungry,

even with that big farm, big family –

drove my father nuts!

It’s a KID, she’d say. 

That was that.



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IMG_2451Five billion years —

we must find a new home.

Five billion years  —

the earth falls into the sun’s embrace

and will not let her go.

Our species needs five billion years

to burn the dross from our souls,

shame, the wick of the burning candle.

Holy Father-Mother-Creator-God of the galaxies

beyond our own, owner of the infinite

colors of infinitude, let us learn our lessons now

so when this moment comes,

we have already learned to fly.


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IMG_2605Early March and the willows,

brown and gaunt,

remember they are beautiful,

first in the golden slant of the morning light

then soon, from within themselves, the palest green,

a hue, innocent somehow,

as if hopefulness suffused their limbs

and we are allowed

to begin anew.

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Haiku, Japanese Garden


The shrine within me.

Dew on the blades of grass

shines on my dream lake.


A feather drifts by,

aimless wanderer stop here.

Oh, it is a moth!


The koi opens his mouth,

all the colors of his vest

feed the tourists well.


Bench next to the hedge,

how I long to sleep on it.

Please, stay on the path!


The jets overhead,

the river of cars flows by,

the silence within.


While in the garden,

I think of wine to buy guests

who may never come.


The ground is too full.

The roots of the cedar now

must pierce the surface.


Endless wandering,

door of anticipation,

beauty cleanses all.


The breeze on the face.

The freeway by the garden:

don’t listen to me.



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img_2666Even desperate for water in the desert

the dead must be washed, every part,

to stand before God clean.


Hands bound, feet bound,

the child lies on the ground,

the skull too big for stick-bones.


Quiet the child, so quiet

as if she were already

listening to God comfort her.



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img_0834One clove of garlic, chopped,

sautéed in olive oil,

a handful of spinach leaves

steamed, rice noodles boiled.


An Arctic freeze

settles on the city

too dry for snow,

the ground frozen and stiff.


A squirrel walks the top

of the fence toward the firs

looking for something tasty,

finding little.


Place setting for one

at the table, a vase of roses

flown in from Chile,

dark now at every window.



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Psalm One

(“I found within me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus )


13-of-179img_0963francineYou have wasted your time,

messed up,

squandered your money.


You have

destroyed your health,

& you bristle with blame and resentment.


Listen.  You have the courage.

to keep living

no matter what.


Remember, a tree

planted by the rivers of water

shall not wither.



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