Pairings #3


A delicate oriole nest 
hanging near the end
of a willow branch
with long green leaves
swaying on a gentle breeze

In late Spring
I watched the bustle
weave and hustle
flashing orange and black and yellow
feeding in and flying out

One day a sort of panic 
as mother fluttered frantic
from edge to edge
while fledglings visited
and father brought provision

In that nursery next morning
mother slumped and bent
silent and unmoving
crumpled in her little tomb
spent and color fading 

Affixed to the nest
a tender chick
pinned and deadly tethered
by its small upright back
still and downy feathered

Snagged and tacked
unable to fall or fly
poised in death
its tiny wings outspread
facing toward the sky

Now both softly rocking
in their transient home
I wonder at her natural
gift of living 
beyond herself alone


Our Father 
who sees each sparrow fall
who counts the hairs
of our troubled head
give us strength
when we have none

*Matthew 10:29-30; 2 Corinthians 12:9

Photo by Frank Cone @ Pexels


Pairings #2


Our lagoon 
is first to freeze.
Long and less deep,
beside a Great Lake.
On sun sparkled ice
fall-fattened geese
land and slide, 
not so gracefully, 
then plop down.
I drop onto the
wooden bench. 
My winter jacket 
of down feathers
slowly absorbs
the cold bright sky.


You ask me, why.
Who can give birth to ice?
Who begets frost from the sky?
Who can kiss
water to stone?
Whose breath alone
can freeze the abyss?

*Job 37:10; 38:29-30 in paraphrase, with poetic license

Photo: Queen’s Lake Nature Reserve, New South Wales
by Christopher Hill at Wikimedia Commons


Fathers in nature

Fathers who sing

Fathers by nature

Fathers unsung

Unknown fathers

Absent fathers

Abusive fathers

Patient fathers

Founding fathers

Church fathers

Fathers of faith

Foundling fathers

Father of Light

Father of the Son

Father always with me

Our Father, the One


In tender camaraderie
within the covers
of body and mind
I declared to him:
My shoulders are
in my heart
No better yet:
My shoulders are
in my womb
To one up me
he said:
Mark off a spot
I’m all shoulder

Solitary now
Calling on God
for insight
and scanning
the night sky
Entranced I see
the birth of galaxies
He shows me
opening upon opening
wheeling within
Brilliant harmony

My vision reaps
ecstatic time with
grateful humility
This is home
While living lies
in the light of others
we can only reflect
But a better way
is a mystery
To mirror what we
cannot know

Who is able
to bear the weight
of losing matter?
Cloaked in pride
eclipsed by certainty
I grasp reason
and forfeit
precious faith
When I surrender
the shadows
I am lifted into
the Light
of pure Love

Photo, Coconino National Forest – Flagstaff (Public Domain)

H o s p i t a l

We look down at
dumb magazines
or smart phones
While deep inside
panic zooms memory
down the halls
droning in our ears

We calculate our
luck infinitely
Constrict our
honeycombed throats
Emergency sirens
swarm outside
Claxons alarm us

Hearts in
the waiting room
enter pleas
with promises
and we sit here
guts strung out
on a sting

Hesitant and polite
we dance around
the obvious entrance
where fear and
faith are spoken
What becomes of
our beloved?

At this late hour
regrets cling like
pollen on bouquets
The janitor crosses
a shampooed carpet
to remove the
withered blossoms


For my sister

Once content with
familiar brooks
I feared intriguing
turns and stopped
the flowing
in my heart
that leads to
greater knowing

Then I dreamed
an undertow that
pulled and changed
my course
Forced to brave
a stranger stream
I worried where
it was heading

Now I know sweet
sparkling creeks
trickle in and out of
small ponds
But some fall into
currents swift
Into beautiful rivers and

river into ocean

Top photo Chester Creek Trail in Anchorage, Alaska; bottom photo of Plawagan Puger, East Java by Ikhlasul Amal


Moments of joy
and terror
are not balanced
with the precision
of a “blind watchmaker”
Where there is
no chance
of error

Nor can these be
blamed on a
“devil’s chaplain”
innocent of intent
Who just asks
that we trust him

Theory can’t
the poetry of rainbows
Yet believes it shuttles
the weft and warp
Starts pulling at and
rearranging its own

Its sparkling strings
trick and trap
but unravel
when fitter words appear
We follow their
endless strands
around our heart
protecting our soul

Concept cannot
why life is short
Can’t explain
how for some
their bliss is
too early
For others pain
knotted too long

Its dogma proclaims
love is chemical
love is practical
A function
whose time itself
is passing
into electrical

It is not self-evident
that our mind
is a “meme machine”
There is also
the reason of faith
A humbler story
of the meek and
evolution of spirit



Photos from Wikipedia; Michelangelo’s Pietà by Stanislav Traykov

Wake Up

Ants cope better
They revive
Being good scouts
to adapt and
sally forth
to defy
meant to rout them

Will they
inherit the dirt
they already inhabit
Will there be
a dearth of humans
when asteroids
predicted or not
traject directly
from unseen hands
to silence
the talking species
Will we hear ants

Or will it be
“Not with a bang
but a whimper”
An untraceable
unrighteously conceived
but plausibly denied
by those who deem us
so beneath them
A blight on our planet

Ants can’t write poetry
to magnify reality
or dignify their plight
or dance pointlessly
under starlight
dreaming into
their lover’s eyes
or create symphonies
or paint

What they do well
is cooperate
navigate without
on top of
and below ground
They haven’t a clue
about quantum computers
nor take their cue
from statistics
spitting fear and

Ants just find
those nooks
and crannies
where toxins
cannot arrive
And faith
reminds us
We do not mind
that there are
which only blossom
in the night

Night blooming cereus

AntBridge Crossing courtesy Igor Chuxlancev; Night-blooming Cereus by Ernie Murphy