Sunday, December 25, 2011

T. S. Eliot--The Cultivation of Christmas Trees

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees
-T.S. Eliot-

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish--which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.
The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
(Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
The expectation of the goose or turkey
And the expected awe on its appearance,
So that the reverence and the gaiety
May not be forgotten in later experience,
In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
Or in the piety of the convert
Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
Displeasing to God and disrespectful to the children
(And here I remember with gratitude
St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):
So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
(By “eightieth” meaning whichever is the last)
The accumulated memories of annual emotion
May be concentrated into a great joy
Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion
When fear came upon every soul:
Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
And the first coming of the second coming.

Friday, July 15, 2011


For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words indecision, option, fate.


A part of Fate is the freedom of man. --R. W. Emerson

Fate beckoned, bowed
on one knee, while
a sycamore swayed
in the breeze. Long
fingers pointed either way,
momentous indecision.
Impossible to weigh
every blazing option;
Fate condescends,
leaves fall
where they may.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Plant Dreams

This is for the good folks over at Bluebell Books. Thanks for the invite.

Plant Dreams

She is Queen of the Forest,
benevolent Sovereign of her

universe, every mound
of fertile soil her royal

playground. In this world
all life is an expression

of her will, touched
by a well-meaning hand.

She adores and protects
each greening leaf,

growing deep roots for
the sadness yet to come.

Do we know, without doubt,
what vegetation dreams about?

Friday, July 8, 2011

William Blake on Perception

Man's perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception, he perceives more than sense (tho' ever so acute) can discover.
~William Blake, There is No Natural Religion

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Three Word Wednesday, prompt words nasty, heat, cease.


Before we make fools
of ourselves
by nasty words
and worse actions;
when light and heat mingle
with quiet breath
and we are not ashamed;
depending on something
other than
what we wear, own, or believe;
that brief moment
that touches eternity,
yet precious
like a child, like a child.
Each morning an entrance
where knowledge vanishes,
prophecies fail,
tongues cease.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Peace that Passes All Understanding

A late, unrefined Three Word Wednesday. Prompt words bump, transfix, knuckle.

Peace that Passes All Understanding

He prayed, “Bless those fighting
for peace.” And I scratched
my head in wonder. How can
this be? The world waits
transfixed, fearing the loss
of all, and we ask Almighty God:

Bless us, O Lord, as we
march on to Zion,
beat plows into swords,
carve trees into clubs,
bump off every opponent,
raise bloody knuckles,
make peace by war.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Not for Nothing

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words gag, omit, maintain. I had this ready earlier, but had an argument with myself about the best order for the stanzas. Settled on this for now.

Not for Nothing

It's not for nothing
I come early to Tumble Creek,
leaving the noisy boundaries
of progress and order to learn
the wind's soft syllables.

The architects of Paradise
have Nature bound and gagged,
allowing her to speak barely
in well-maintained green accents--

but I need to see Nature wild,
hear her whisper mysteries
known only to those who
love their place, who listen
with the care that omits nothing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


This needs some work, but I've got to get back in the swing of things somehow. For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words grip, prefer, thread.

Why worship the glory of the bottom line,
Laboring to multiply unneeded goods
While leaving the Good undesired?
We are what we prefer.

Each day the same:
Grip the key
That sparks the fire
That turns us to
The widening gyre
Incensed gods
Who tromp and pound
Affection and wonder
Into the ground

And so we prove our worth.
Weaving threads of death
Inconsiderately, life
Ornate but bare within.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Back in town for the weekend, hopefully only a few more days working out of town. I had a few moments to scrawl out a little poem for Three Word Wednesday, prompt words were: alter, fond, tranquil.


It comes back to me slightly
altered, a rippling image
of what is real. But that’s
not quite right. The reflection
is just as real although existing
beyond touch. To touch
it is to break it, like some
fond memory too precious
for clumsy hands, kept
in the tranquil
depths of the heart.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pictures, and a few words

I’ve not posted in a while. In fact, I’ve not written anything in a while—partly due to lack of time, partly due to a feeling that I have nothing to say at the moment. Perhaps the two reasons are related. I know in my experience that if I do not make time to observe my place in this world (whether interior contemplation or outward observation), anything I try to write sounds half-formed and hollow.

Anyway, I’ve not been on vacation, but have been working out of town on Daufuskie Island, off the South Carolina coast. Being out of town, sharing living space with others (and trying to merge my living habits with the habits of others) has taken a toll on my writing productivity. And I’ve not had online access, so blog posting has been impossible. However, I’ve been able to enjoy a few hours of early-morning solitude on the beach, and after work I’ve had some delightful bass and redbreast fishing. Thought I’d try to send along a few pictures.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The First Shall Be Last

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words brandish, forbid, manage.

The First Shall Be Last

Rosy smile baring perfect teeth,
well-fed body arising as the
blessed sun in the east, behind
the lectern looking for all the world
like a slick advertisement
in some hip magazine. Brandish
words. Slap the holy book,
make the hard sell. Not having lived,
forbid earthly pleasure, demand
sacrifice since the easy road
grinds on the backs of others—
all praise to you, God’s
humble, polished servant.
It may be, in the Last Day,
he will manage to forgive.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Snakes Alive! A Tale of Terror from the Carpenter's Chronicles

Two years ago on a warm spring day I went with my boss to start a new job. We had been contracted to build a spacious house from the ground up, and the first order of business was to shoot grade and locate the lot markers. Since the proposed house was in the floodplain of the Ogeechee River just on the outside of a sweeping bend, the lot was predictably low and wet—except for a few large white oak and sweet gum trees and a stand of pines at the western boundary, the entire jobsite was covered in knee-high marsh grasses. We’ve built a lot of houses in cramped subdivisions where the developers level every living thing in order to squeeze out a few more lots so it’s always a delight to work in the open, listening to the tap of woodpeckers and persistent song of the wrens.

After determining our benchmark near the road and locating the front left boundary pin I set out across the lot to find the back left marker, pacing out the 220 feet or so in the general direction I thought to find it, happy to be out in the fine weather.

“Do you think there are snakes?” Jim asked.

“They’ve got to be all over the place in here.” I remembered that Jim was terrified of snakes, and I am not one to pass up a chance for a little fun. I’ve always thought it humorous that Jim, an Eagle Scout, is so ill at ease in the outdoors. He cannot identify flora and fauna; I even had to show him what a mockingbird looks like. I suppose he earned his Eagle by helping the elderly and learning to tie knots.

Since the lot was perfect habitat for snakes of all varieties, I was justified in alerting Jim to the danger. Most snakes will take the coward’s way out if they have the chance, so as I walked through the grass I made enough foot noise to give any hiding creature fair warning. We pulled our measurement to the marker, shot the grade, and I held my place while Jim started toward me.

“I don’t want to sound like a baby, but I don’t like this at all,” Jim said as he tucked the tripod under one arm and grabbed the transit with the other.

“Just make a little noise—they don’t want to be around you any more than you want to be around them,” I replied.

Stepping gingerly, Jim made his way across the lot whistling the theme song from Sanford and Son. It took me a few seconds, but I soon realized that the whistling was Jim’s way of alerting any devilish attacker of his presence.

“Make some noise with your feet! Let ‘em know you mean business!” I hollered between repressed snickers. Jim stopped for a second as if to steel himself and continued toward me, this time raking his feet through the grass. He was doing fine, like a regular Swamp Fox. And then the panic set in. He picked up speed, and with his increased momentum he also increased altitude, his soles nearly reaching shoulder height, arms akimbo.

Now, Jim is a big man—horizontally, not vertically. He’s about 5’5”, 260 pounds, with the shortest inseam I’ve ever seen on a grown man, maybe 28” tops. So you can imagine the effort he exerted as he high-stepped it across the lot. And being the generous soul I am I gave him plenty of encouragement in his flight from danger.

“You got ‘em where you want ‘em now, Jim! Keep “em on the run!” I couldn’t sustain enough breath between the laughing and vocal assistance, so I looked around for a place dry enough to roll around on. Damn marsh—I was forced to stagger about holding my belly, tears rolling down my beard.

He still swears he heard a snake after him in the grass. I tell him if there were any snakes, they were too busy belly-laughing to make much of an assault.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words jitter, grace, thin.

~for Becky

Edging skyward, breathless
in thin air, the unknown pulsing
with expectation. We stood
overlooking the dark expanse
seeing, not seeing, a view
worth the climb. The moon
blushing in the glow of your skin.
You lean close and whisper,
mouth to ear, nearer. Near.
What grace did we wish in this
shared solitude,
beyond all, jittery
night creatures avoiding
the town’s lights? I remember,
and am glad we were there.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Salutation --Ezra Pound

Here's a little poem by Pound I like.


O generation of the thoroughly smug
and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picnicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
and do not even own clothing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eternity's Gift

Three Word Wednesday, prompt words foolish, mercy, relish. I missed contributing last week--Holy Week is always busy for me.

Eternity’s Gift

So what is one supposed to do,
seeing time race by like a summer
storm? The days full of strength
are far between and getting farther—
I’m not finished yet but the end
is in sight. And I am not afraid.
I have learned through many
foolish hours that every end
is a beginning; every weakness
supplies its own strength; to plunge
to the depths is to finally find mercy;
every path is passable if it
follows the way of love. Knowing
this, I will relish each fleeting
moment as eternity’s rich
gift, abiding in the fullness
of this brief and blessed life.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ is Risen! Christos Anesti!

I am a Christian. I see nothing in that to apologize about, even if many apologizable things have been said and done in the name of Christianity. My faith is integral, passed down to me from a long line of believers, and I could only deny that faith by denying myself.

That being said, my faith has undergone some changes over the years—necessary changes, as I see it. I’m more willing to admit my ignorance about God and his ways. I’m less willing to hold exclusivist views about who gets to go to Heaven and who inherits the Hot Place. The way I figure it, if God can be merciful to me there’s hope for everyone. Christians have, above many others, given God ample opportunity to exercise his famed loving-kindness. Too bad we selectively forget stories like the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (St. Matthew 18:21-35). I’ve stopped concerning myself with everyone else’s eternal destiny, but I can’t help speculating: Maybe the only likely inhabitants of the Inferno will be those willing to dispatch others there. (Sorry, Sig. Alighieri. I liked your poem anyway.)

I’m also unconvinced, in spite of some lines of Christian teaching, that there is a necessary separation between spirit and body. We live here like trees, in two directions: ever reaching toward heaven and putting down deep roots in the earth. I fail to see the benefit of intentionally stunting growth in either direction. Even though this world, and our life in this world, is warped and unwhole, I refuse to condemn it in some all-out bid for future reward. After all, whatever defects we find in creation seem traceable to our own inability or unwillingness to live in union with both God and our place. Seems rather foolish to junk up a place and then condemn it for being junked up. God set goodness and beauty here, all around us, and I can’t help but live in gratitude and wonder at every good gift from above. In any case, even allowing that the world is in some way fallen, if the Scripture is correct in saying that “with God all things are possible”—and I believe it—then everything, all creation, is redeemable. I consider that even St. Paul, noted for his pessimism toward the world, held out the belief that all creation will be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Which brings me to something of a point. To me, the message of Easter is this: life from death, peace in conflict, hope in troublesome times, comfort in sorrow, love overcoming all. Again, from the pen of the oft-misunderstood Apostle, “Charity never faileth.” I like those words. May I have the courage to live them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


For Three Word Wednesday: prompt words are evident, illusion, tragic.


The buried dead are alive
To me, an evident reality;
A past I am unable and
Unwilling to leave behind.
History throbs with life—every
Person, event, and decision sounds
Loud in my memory, makes
Me know my inheritance
Is not an illusion.
Tragic and comic, blessing and curse,
A mixed cup poured
Liberally into my present.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Far-off Hills

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words adamant, fabricate, peculiar.

Far-off Hills

I’m going away.
Face set, adamant,
there’s nothing you can say—
I’m choking here beneath
the blistering gaze.
And I can see the far-off
hills, I see them and I feel
their gentle joy.

“You’re peculiar,”
you say, “born a century
too late.” Just because I
despise your fabricated
dramas, and am baffled
by your giddiness over
every consuming trinket
the tech-gods pitch your way.

You may be right, there may
be nothing there for me. But
I’ll feel the rising river-mist
as the heron fishes regally,
close my day with the
crimson sunset, and
die with my boots on,
mucked by honest soil,
when I finally

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Worsening

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words persuasive, loud, riches. Felt like rhyming this week.

The Worsening

Black shapes against the sky
Hover, descend.
They do not make a cry
But with the blackness blend
And raise a solid wall
That will not shake or fall.

In circular silence
I try to find a door
That isn’t there. Bent
Numb fingers explore
Until persuasive despair
Calmly buzzes in my ear.

Will these dead bones live?
To sing again? I recall
Some melody through the sieve
Of my memory, small
Spent riches of sound
A dirge for the burial ground.

Yet I am not alone—
Child-like belief makes
A chink in the dark stone.
The loud creak of hell’s gates,
Startling as I spring
Free of the worsening.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tool--go ahead and try to play this bass line, rookie!

I like bluegrass. I like classical. I like old country. I like rock (mostly older). I love Tool. Just wanted to headbang a little. Back to poetry and farting around shortly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


For Three Word Wednesday: prompt words dual, volley, identical.


Invisible change, slower than the shift
From babbling youth to maturity.
The dual reality of living—

Flesh-willing, spirit-weak. Wait
Still as ancient stone; night fades into day.
A volley of light, celestial energy

Breaks the tedium, penetrates marrow deep.
Hold the tentative hope until
Spirit and will are identical.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Roethke is a great poet . . .

... and here is one of my favorites.

A Light Breather
~Theodore Roethke

The spirit moves,
Yet stays:
Stirs as a blossom stirs,
Still wet from its bud-sheath,
Slowly unfolding,
Turning in the light with its tendrils;
Plays as a minnow plays,
Tethered to a limp weed, swinging,
Tail around, nosing in and out of the current,
Its shadows loose, a watery finger;
Moves, like the snail,
Still inward,
Taking and embracing its surroundings,
Never wishing itself away,
Unafraid of what it is,
A music in a hood,
A small thing,

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Three Word Wednesday: prompt words breeze, mellow, tickle.


Rending breezes come and go.
The limbless tree still
rooted stands. You’re stumped—
words tickle my throat—
why I oughtta nod
off, quit trying when
trying is half the fun?

But I can go further even if
on my belly and I will
I will not cry out!

Will you meet me
at Mellow Marsh? I didn’t
think so but just in case.
Buy an island no one
cares where. I smell home,
and I’ll not stop
till I arrive.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Truth manifests itself to
the ones who love
I thumb back and forth
as if all is at stake,

a miner in a rush
to pan his fortune once for all.

Yet the essence of truth
is manifest, overflowing,

like the scent of gardenias
carried on by every little breeze,

like flecks of gold delighting
every wondering child.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Worthless animal

My youngest daughter’s cat is the most worthless animal ever created. Well, that is probably speaking a bit beyond my experience, but I would bet my next paycheck that she easily makes the Top Ten Worthless Animal List. (Cat, not my daughter.)

We live in an older house, and from time to time we have a rat take up his abode in our attic; before long, it finds its way into the living space and eats Wonder Bread or Snickers until I finally end its miserable life. I assumed that Cat—a master of stealth, well-equipped with sharp claws, teeth, and night vision, and therefore gifted beyond my pest-controlling abilities —would make a good recruit. I hate to admit it, but I was wrong. Cat sleeps like Van Winkle all night long, and the rat is getting plump on cat food.

She’s great at catching wind-blown leaves, though.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seamus Heaney: Squarings xlvii

The visible sea at a distance from the shore
Or beyond the anchoring grounds
Was called the offing.

The emptier it stood, the more compelled
The eye that scanned it.
But once you turned your back on it, your back

Was suddenly all eyes like Argus's.
Then, when you'd look again, the offing felt
Untrespassed still, and yet somehow vacated

As if a lambent trooop that exercised
On the borders of your vision had withdrawn
Behind the skyline to manoeuvre and regroup.

~Seamus Heaney

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For you-know-who

On Our Twenty-first

They ask “How’d you do it?”
as if we had worked magic
or turned water into wine.
Something more wonderful—
two became one, without

reservation, a complete giving
of self. All the rest,
the common work and common love,
radiates from that first
encompassing fullness.

How or why it works, I don’t
know. I only know that tomorrow,
and tomorrow’s tomorrow,
I will continue to lose myself
in your welcoming love.

The Hallway

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words were dainty, tantalize, haunting. An old memory, hopefully I did it justice here.

The Hallway

At the end of every service came
the Haunting, when every grinning
worshipper had gone through
self-closing doors, and in the dead

quiet every creak and squeak
was empirical proof
of malicious spirits waiting
for the final light to be dimmed.

And that was my job, turning
out the last back hallway light
while Dad checked the locks.
Switch at one end, stairs at the other,

hellfire sermon still alive
in my impressionable mind. I flipped
the lights off and paused, the soft red
glow of the exit sign serving only

to tantalize, a temptation
to take the first step
toward safety. I ran, blood pounding,
ashamed of fear but determined

not to become a dainty meal
for fire-breathing forces.
You may laugh and say what you will,
but I have known from childhood

that evil inhabits holy places.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Some days are just like that

March 9, 1846:

God in heaven, if there were not deep within a man a place where all this can be completely forgotten in communion with thee, who could endure it.

~ Kierkegaard, Journals

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And the Award Goes to . . .

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words were affinity, fidget, and mention.

And the Award Goes to . . .

Unblinking, we devour
fabricated reality like
saucer-eyed fish that cannot
distinguish real worms
from glittering bait. Such
affinity for the famous,
who earn their honor by
pretending to be what
they are not. They fuss and fidget
and we watch, mouth agape
as if witnessing the return
of Christ Almighty. Take
hold of your own days.
Make no mention of the
exploits of others.
You also live.

(So I was feeling a little grouchy today.)

Monday, February 28, 2011


single glowing spark
flickering forked tongue reduced
everything to ash

Friday, February 25, 2011

Is this seat taken?

Today I did a little work in the friendliest bathroom in Savannah. I'd have to know someone pretty good to use this--they don't call them "privates" for nothing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To, too, two

I followed a car home from work today, about 10 miles worth. The driver had a custom-made bumper sticker that read: TO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED. Obviously the sticker's creator did not consult a grammar/usage handbook before printing the thing out, and I understand that mistakes happen. Stressed the hell out of me, though.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Family Tradition

Three-Word Wednesday, prompt words: stress, juicy, figure.

Family Tradition

At odds again. Head under
pillow he listens, loud words
shouted with spiteful stress.
Through thin walls neighbors
also hear, just a juicy
tidbit to share. Proficient
hands land on his tired
figure. He stifles sobs,
but nothing’s lost—his voice
grows stronger, fists harder,
every day saving up
the lessons learned
with more to follow.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hush, I'm watching my stories!

For reasons I cannot understand, the wife was telling me about some soap opera she watches. I swear I thought she said there was a "big bust catastrophe," and my mind immediately created a hundred, nay, a thousand different scenarios. Turns out it was a "big bus catastrophe."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Old Friend

Three Word Wednesday, prompt words were blink, kind, and occasion.

Old Friend

I didn’t recognize you.
A shy, drawling “Hey” sparked
a recent memory which face
and figure didn’t match. Staring,
blinking, I tried to place
you, but only the eyes looked
familiar. Deep within their sunken
pools reflections of what you were
still remained. Why did you do it?
What kind of driving need
caused you to pursue such
deceptive self-destruction,
your mind and body blasted
by repeated momentary pleasure?
The will to die I can understand,
but the will to live such
a life, raging for the next
fix, comes from a place
I cannot know. This should have
been one happy occasion, lively talk
about work and kids and hard-earned
success. But like a boy caught
in a lie I could only mumble,
look aside, and wish there
was more I could say.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Audible moon shine

Oct. 13, 1835:

The real beauty of Lemming’s playing (he is a Danish musician; I heard him at the University Club) was that he stroked the guitar. The vibrations became almost visible, just as when the moon shines on the sea the waves become almost audible.

--Kierkegaard’s Journals

Sunday, February 13, 2011

That time of the month

Wife felt a pre-minstrel headache coming on.

No card this year, but . . .

Our Long Walk

The late-fallen snow,
hard-packed by the feet
of those omnipresent
classmates whose company
we forgot,
posed no danger, yet with
instinctive eagerness
you held my arm
and I held yours.

We did not know,
as we lingered
in the scattered shadows
beside Schroon Lake, that
after twenty-two years
we would still walk
arm in arm,
pressed close, sharing
breath, love, life.

(Our first date was Feb. 14, 22 years ago; we'll be married 21 years March 10. It's been a great walk.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wisdom from the (South) East II

~Congressman who reveal nipples in online attempt for girl also reveal he plenty nuts.~

~Only big half-wit turn down free Cold Beer.~

Wisdom from the (South) East

~ Lazy man, like man with no arms, must exert big effort to be handy.~

~Man who thinks he King Shit have head up ass.~

Thursday, February 10, 2011

For Spring

If you'll forgive the expression, it's been a pretty shitty winter, even here in the deep South where God dwells. Spring is on my mind . . .

For Spring

The dark underneath presses
upward in silence, a process
becoming never complete. Soft
drops seep inward, baptism of
hope, hum of life barely begun.

Breath-mist curls skyward
in yearning, daily eternal
mystery, death-life
repeated in signs and seasons
and days and years.

Naked notes trickle and blend,
unlearned symphony
played by slender hands. Speak.
Sing. And I saw that
it was very good.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Howling Skitters

Thank you, NFL, for serving up a rotten plate of Black-Eyed Peas for the Half-time Show. And the side orders of stale Slash and undulating Usher didn't help it go down any easier. It's the morning after, and I still feel queasy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


This is pretty late for a Three Word Wednesday post, but I've been sick this week (really, I've been off-and-on sick since Thanksgiving), so I'm thinking through a haze of generic Nyquil. Anyway, here you go, such as it is. I think I can tighten it up later. Three words were abrasive, loss, handful.


Abrasive days have ground
me into the dust, yet somehow
sharp edges remain.

If God would explain
this toiling path, supposed divine
plan to make heaven mine—

I’ve no ready answers. I can
only guess, or stiffly stand
and shake defiant fists, or make

peace with my lot, take
whatever comes, gain or loss,
as handfuls of grace.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And now a few words from T. S. Eliot

These words have been rattling around in my head for the past week:

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And I pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

T. S. Eliot, from Ash-Wednesday (lines 1.26-33)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where the enemy cannot follow

When we humble ourselves before God we go downwards, and this is the one
direction in which the enemy cannot follow us, and consequently we are freed
from his influence.

--Fr. Zacharias Zacharou, Remember Thy First Love (p. 176)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Three-Word Wednesday prompt was tough this week. Went ahead and threw something together anyway. Three words were conniption, janky, scooch. Slinging slang on this one.


This janky world.
A growing cosmic
conniption fit
of hatred and violence:
words offered
programs engaged
money funneled
armies deployed
have failed to fix
our fractures.

What if we
just scooch over,
make room for
every creature,
welcome all?

Of course it will
never work. So
we continue
to build the tombs
of the prophets
and martyrs
stone upon stone:
shake our heads
deafen our ears
adorn our homes
our personal

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Messing with a Three-Word Wednesday prompt from last week. Ended up with this. Only used two words though. Oh well.


It doesn’t seem surreal to me,
this kenotic journey
beyond hair, skin,
vessels and organs
into the heartself.

I go. And it is enough
simply to descend, lower
still, past desire for power,
to meet the small voice
wooing me into the expanse,

the kingdom within. The path
tending toward life through death
follows close-eyed watchfulness
and empty fullness.
World above worlds,

Word above words
entered by the silent
startled traveler. Love-spent,
in the gentle healing Light
where all is quiet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dino from Flirtatious Era

This is the year I get it going on.

Resolutions for the Year of Our Lord 2011

1. Start forming resolutions earlier in the year, so as to have them ready to go on Jan. 1.


Heaney. One of the greats. Of all time.

The Skylight

You were the one for skylights. I opposed

Cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove

Of pitch pine. I liked it low and closed,

Its claustrophobic, nest-up-in-the-roof

Effect. I liked the snuff-dry feeling,

The perfect, trunk-lid fit of the old ceiling.

Under there, it was all hutch and hatch.

The blue slates kept the heat like midnight thatch.

But when the slates came off, extravagant

Sky entered and held surprise wide open.

For days I felt like an inhabitant

Of that house where the man sick of the palsy

Was lowered through the roof, had his sins forgiven,

Was healed, took up his bed and walked away.

--Seamus Heaney

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Call of the Wild

One of the boys just informed me that Robin Hood does NOT call his followers by shouting, "Oh merrrry meeee-en!" Instead, he blows his horn three times, "Poot. Poot. Poooooot!" Thought you'd like to know.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Lord hath tempted me sorely

Just moments after submitting my last blog post about non-judgment, someone sent me this video to watch. So I ask--how can one say what needs to be said about such a "minister" (he calls himself a "co-prophet") without judging? It's wrong on so many levels . . .

Non-judgment: or, Where do you want to throw him?

One day Abba Isaac went to a monastery. He saw a brother committing a sin and he condemned him. When he returned to the desert, an angel of the Lord came and stood in front of the door of his cell, and said, “I will not let you enter.” But he persisted saying, “What is the matter?” and the angel replied, “God has sent me to ask you where you want to throw the guilty brother whom you have condemned.” Immediately he repented and said, “I have sinned, forgive me.” Then the angel said, “Get up, God has forgiven you. But from now on, be careful not to judge someone before God has done so.”

--The Sayings of the Desert Fathers--

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baby Jesus?

My 2 yr. old son brought this book to me, pointed to the creature in the backpack-looking thing and said, "That's baby Jesus!" I don't rightly know where that idea came from. We're teaching our kids better than this. Really.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I found this on the packing of a front door we set the other day--thought it was a fair visual representation of last year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just a suggestion

I thought I'd pay to have the wife get one of these for her birthday. She was not amused.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Birthday

Wife: "You know, you haven't written anything on your blog for a year."

Me: "Really?"

So there. And Happy Birthday.