Category Archives: Poetry
A crimson leaf, high-hoped, leapt heavenward,
but autumn’s failing breath sustained it not;
with dew-teared face it kissed its dreams goodbye
and fell, and sank, to wither and to rot.
He watched the half-black skies that drowned the day,
his azure Eden hidden from his sight.
As crimson turned to earth, he whispered soft,
“Stay not long hidden, bringer of the light,”
’til just before the earth was tucked within
its blanket, resurrection to await,
with broken brethren he was gathered in,
a child’s exuberance to satiate.
First child, then leaf, leapt heavenward aglow,
and fell with breezy laughter back below.
What fools are we, inheritors of grace
and singers of th’eternal song. We string
our beads of love at someone else’s pace
and find our good intentions shattering.
We proudly stitch our garments, ’til the seams
are torn by lazy hands and frail remorse,
and carry tinder-boxes full of dreams
but hide the flint, and halt conversion’s course.
A fellowship of fools are we who swing
from Calvary into Eternity;
in foolish love our empty hands we bring.
Beloved, broken jesters all are we.
The greatest of all follies rescues us:
the shadow of the folly of the cross.
Make me unknown to me, myself, and I,
may self-pitying tow’rs that fight the sky
collapse upon my ego, laying bare.
O Mother, sweet and blessed, wholly pure,
within whose tender mantle now I lie,
make me unknown.
Slow, slouched, I wait for pity as I try
to battle inner wars. Oh let me die
to self, this secret pride. These shadows lure
me to demise. While I yet stir,
make me unknown.
Impetuous, my lately love, am I
in letting love this fragile frame imbibe;
your sapphire eyes are water to these dry
and burning bones. I wish I could inscribe
your name upon my heart eternally,
but nay, ’tis not to be. You? I? My dear,
the love I wish for us can never be–
love? Nay, nay, but mere passion…fierce, I fear.
Dear one, may I yet stay, and love thee true,
with kindness, care, and groaning heart? Though strung
like harp strings, heart aflame, my song to you
shall be restrained, with few notes ever sung.
Unbridled though my yearning ever be,
I shall but love and let thy heart by free.
Recall the day the Tree of Life was shorn
of verdant life and pierced by iron nails,
when darkness, groaning, veiled the dying morn
while stones took up the trembling and wails.
Recall the day when earth and sky screamed out,
“Creator scorned, O creatures!, whence thy hope?”
Remember blood of God-Made-Man, the shout
of stone-cold tomb, salvation’s envelope.
Recall, recall, sweet soul, how blood gave birth
to sons and daughters from a granite womb,
Creation’s moans now sprung from fruitful girth
while souls by flood are washed into the tomb;
once more recall: as old life’s morning dies,
creation new from sepulchre will rise.
In solemn awe the seraphim cry “Gloria” on high,
as hosts join in rejoicing at sight:
the New Creation’s dawn is come, salvation’s morn is nigh,
and breaks upon a cold December night.
The light of Love, on wings of grace, stoops into time and place,
the Word speaks in a tiny infant’s cry,
and God, so inexpressible, now takes a human face,
content within the Virgin’s arms to lie.
The hearts of men with labor pains once wracked now moan no more,
for Christ is come to take away our sin.
Let Mary and the Spirit make a manger and a door,
that Christ in you be born anew. Amen.
Writing a Christmas poem has become a tradition for me. I wish I had more time to put better thought and effort in, but the important thing is that it expresses what I want it to: that this Christmas can be an opportunity of great renewal, of letting Christ be born in our hearts and our lives, just as He was born in Bethlehem. He comes with redeeming love. So rejoice, even if you don’t feel happy, because we have a reason to be truly joyful all the days of our life, a reason that began with one moment, on one night, in this world. May God bless you and yours with peace, love, and joy; may you sleep peacefully in the arms of Mary, our Mother and His, and may you rise to the splendor of the dawn of Christ’s coming in the love of the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. Merry Christmas to one and all!!
Sweet welcome to you, oh burdensome trial,
And may your sweet barbs yet tarry awhile.
An earth more fallow for growth you’ll not find,
For it’s fertilized full with the corpses of your kind.
Yes, welcome to your sanctuary and death;
Though root you take, vain is your poisonous breath.
Your pain is but passage to courage and grace
And the One ever smiling from His bloodied face.
So unsheathe your sword and sharpen your lance–
The longer I cry, the harder I dance.
You’ve homed with a Gael, and all the world knows
That the greater our sorrow, the more our joy grows.
So welcome to rebellious fires, my friend.
My strength is your solace; His freedom, your end.
Speak no more, no more, I beg thee;
another weighty word,
another vessel of steel-cased emotion,
and the scales shall tip to fear,
Grant me a moment more
in this comforting caress
of unspoken words, dreams unimagined,
a stream of potentiality on a canvass of silence
painted in tears of love and loss.
Take me not from this sweet hollow
this forgotten corner of creation
that hums yet faintly
with the musical silence of Eden.
I see through the mist
in the panes to your stricken heart.
There is a longing,
a cry to balance the scales
as the words begin to spill from your lips
and down your cheeks.
the words cannot touch my fragile mind;
no, they sink
with heavy weight
to my heart,
and I find there an endless vestibule,
a deep chasm waiting for your words
as they pour but a drop
into the infinite awaiting.
It is no longer mine to listen,
nor was it ever mine to heal.
All falls into the mantle,
and carried to the heart of Christ.
O Mother of Sorrows,
Victorious Queen robed in Eden’s silence,
take me over.
My frail spirit is so little prepared
for all that I must take in.
Take these hands,
take this heart.
Let your Spouse
breathe in me His peace,
that this shuddering frame
may come as Simon to the crosses of others
in holy fear
and loving confidence.
A phoenix asked the flames, “Do you delight,
Oh fiery fiend, to lick my chest, to sear
through flesh and bone, to boil blood? Does the light
inside your tendrils glow with pride? A tear
of pain, a mournful torrent–no respite
they offer from your suffocating fumes.
What mortal sin, what monstrous err made I,
to merit burning scarlet for a tomb?”
The blushing flames replied, “If you could see,
Oh tender chick, beyond my ruby walls
into the light which all-envelopes me,
‘twould send thy soul aflight. For shining halls
of resurrection, little is the price
of pain. Let faith be stirred, and hope suffice.”
O how long will I watch?
When will I hold in my hands
this precious universal something
that somehow missed my cradle?
Stupid wretch. He thinks himself now alive.
What living thing e’er sat like silent stone
as life was wrung from him by Life’s cruel claws?
I hold joy inside.
Or perhaps it’s insanity.
This strange desire to laugh and cry and moan
at this stupid,
thing called “life”.
Oh, hush. Leave the air you fill with folly
for others to breathe. Stay down. Be silent.
Be still, my heart; o will you ne’er be still?
When, when, oh soul, will you your moanings cease?
Again, fool? Bite your tongue and bleed, wretch! Bleed!
Put down your fists, vile thoughts! Away, away,
and leave me! Peace, I beg! Peace! Filthy self,
show your featureless face for beating! PEACE!
Where!? Show me peace and I will yield! Show me!
WOULD YOU PLEASE SPEAK TO ME!?
I loathe you.
Because I want so badly to love you.
Maybe then I could let you believe it
when they speak the word
and act it for you…
But when will you be who you must be?
And who must I be?
Tell me this, and I will yield.
You can say nothing.
Because you know nothing.
Nothing of me.
Nothing of the world
you claim would like to snuff me out.
I know not.
And so I act not.
This is my most honest poem to date. And I think the only one where I acknowledge that I hate myself…and the only one where I acknowledge that somewhere in my heart, God tells me exactly what to do with what I’m feeling. And it wasn’t just the last few words.
It was the pauses, the silences. Where I could just be. And not torture myself with my thoughts.
I guess the super-perfectionist part of me just isn’t ever gonna be satisfied. I’m never going to be perfect, or exactly who I want to be. I’m never going to know everything that everyone else seems to know so easily. There’s no point in beating myself up and trying to shove in everything I can as quickly as possible. I can’t take life as if I’m playing catch-up. Because I’ll be playing on the losing side the rest of my life. And life isn’t a game.
It’s an opportunity. Not to be perfect. Not to be great. Not to take the world by storm. It’s just an opportunity to live and to love. That’s all. That’s it.
And that’s awesome.
Upon blue velvet yet I weave
a terminal brocade
of golden love and silver pain
with red impatience made,
a tapestry to life and death
in words so soon to fade.
Oh Mother, Queen, all clothed in blue
and bathed in endless light,
within whose womb the Savior slept
and found His true delight,
you weave your love in simple words
that put my speech to flight.
Let me in blue your Son pursue
through you, O Mother kind,
until the day I’m brought away
eternal life to find.
‘Til then, let me your servant be.
To you, my heart I bind.
As I the storms defy and madly leap
upon the screaming seas, upon thy face
what joy is writ! What roaring mountains steep
would I not dare to scale, harrowing race
would I not run for Love, wherein you find
your heart at rest, your strength, and mayhaps mine.
In Mary’s mantle safe, the waves yet grind
upon the spirit drunk on Love’s choice wine.
While yet we stand upon this tilting globe,
our hearts ablaze, our eyelids set to droop,
I choose my fears and follies to subdue.
Big brother, clinging e’er to Mama’s robe,
I swear this shall be true: that as you stoop
to carry me, I’ll rise to carry you.
Sunsets paint in citrus
hues the bellies of the clouds
coming home to sleep.
Rise, my prayer, above
the mere mumblings of my lips
and bow before God.
Slumber, petty fears,
and tumble down the chasms
you scaled to chain me.
Burn, bright fire of love.
Where else shall I find the light
to take me inward?
Come quickly, courage,
come quickly to the weary
laying in the trench.
I said once before that one of the things I like to do when writing poetry is just write out phrases that come to me, that sounds good. Anything poetic. It has to feel good to say, taste right on the tongue as it rolls off onto the pages of my mind. I thought I’d share a couple, kind of in a list. Fair warning: I like alliteration and consonance. A lot. And I like things that really don’t make sense the first time you read them, or even the second or third. Anything that sits on the mind in just such a way that it sounds odd, but something…almost sticks, almost makes sense, and you have to chase that strand of thought. And even if it leads nowhere, the chase is thrilling and beautiful.
flustered, flourishing furlongs
riding the axles of time
the sweet sound of silence
purloining the permeating notes of peace
single-minded songs of reflection
flying on bloodied feathers
like shards of memories scattered
tolling bells and ticking timers
engulfed in golden hoops of mercy
silver pearls strung across ebony silk to meet the diamond in the sky
little dreams murmur in the silence
So hey, poet or not, give it a shot. Just write what words or phrases come to mind and just enjoy how they feel as you say them. And heck, share them in the comments if you feel so inclined. It’s so fascinating to me how these things say a lot about personality in a subtle way.
That’s all, nothing fancy or insightful. I’m not all philosophizing.
The green-gold glory of an afternoon
is woven into tapestries of blue
just opposite silk shadows of the moon,
where stories dance. Dance slowly in the dew,
for Heaven’s breath may sparkle on the grass
and joy may spring from single grains of sand.
The truth upon a lily may amass,
and peace within a puddle. Make demand,
ye dreamers, of the senses to divine
the poetry in particles and pins.
Let prophecy and memory align
upon humility, where all your sins
to virtues yield, and note: where’er you trod,
you walk upon the fingerprints of God.