Thursday, July 22, 2021


A Place From Which

Before I become



Idly stitching



Basking in

     cleverly designed


Urge me awake

     from dreams to


Spurred by



Trembling on

     the edge

          of prayer

Help to get

     through the


A place to push

     off from in

          search for truth

And unite the two

     so oft divided

          justice and love

To find active

     peace in the

          eye of the storm

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


Critical Respect Theory

Racial scarring

     reminding of

          unhealed pain

Honest study of past

     damage leading

          into truth

Looking directly deep

     into masked

          pain light throbs

Opening routine allowing

     curiosity and

           novel excitement

Dancing with the stranger

     staying the course

          to make amends

Reclaiming the joy

     of moral


Confident that critical love

     surging from

          caring depths

Subdues dissension

     honors community

          allows healing

And word went out

     throughout the land

          that God smiled

Saturday, June 19, 2021


Sorrow Unmasked

Enigmatic she came alone

     clear eyed with a

          promise of deep

Before the golden buzzer

     I knew she was

          better than OK

Multi-tasking cancers

     in the background

          gave her two per cent

Declining the odds

     she intoned her

           chance of joy

Don't wait til things

     are not hard

          to be happy

I held that nugget in

     in my mind pondered

          it in my soul

She echoed the poet's

     tome joy is sorrow


Looked deep deeper into

     pain and found

          sustaining joy

Can it be that blindness

     to joy has been my

          greatest pain

Restored I bookmarked

     the heart shared


And joined the chorus

     I'm OK, I'm OK

          I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm OK

Jane Marczewski sang on America's Got Talent. She was 30 years old, diagnosed with multiple cancers and given a 2% chance of survival. Her musical voice and the music of her spirit so mesmerized the judge's panel that Simon gave her the golden buzzer. Her lyrics included a repetition of "I'm OK, I'm OK" and she ended with the admonition, "You don't have to wait until things are not hard to decide to be happy."

We watched the episode on June 8th. It was reported that Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbird, died on June 10.

Sunday, June 6, 2021


Memorial Days

During the war I

    carried an M-1

        a reluctant warrior

Honor today those whose

    love of country led

        into unwanted war

Antonio on his

    way to the front

        never came home

Respect for those whose

    patriotism precluded

        the call to arms

Conscientious Steve

    refused a gun to

        keep the peace

I replay gut wrenching

    choice 72* years

        and counting

The present valued

    by past heroism

        of the brave

Dishonored by unshackled

    jingoism and

        pernicious hate

Gratitude for those who

    protect and defend

        runs deep

Sorrow for all lives

    lost in conflict

        forever throbs

I cover my heart

    to honor all

        veterans of war

I cover my heart

    to honor all

        veterans of peace

Striving for an alchemy

    that turns the glamour

        or war into pervasive peace

*I joined the Alabama National Guard when I was 17. By the time we were activated for service in Korea I had begun my ongoing struggle to define a patriotism that leaves room for conscientious objection.

Taegu, Korea 1952

Sunday, April 11, 2021



In the search

     for a

          higher ground

One never



The past

     a constant


"New occasions

     teach new


Love provides

     a working



     validates the



     employs the





Moral nausea

     eased with


Probity refusing

     to appease

          moral decay

Unrelenting care

     for the weak and


Recycle anger's

     energy to

          resist evil


     tempered by

          flexible hope

*from the hymn, Once to Every Man and Nation

Covered wagons on the way up to Cripple Creek.

We pulled our '64 Volkswagen truck over and asked if we could pose a picture. I can only imagine the life and work of those whose lives were served by the covered wagon. I do know that before I owned the truck, my Dad used it to haul storm damaged walnut trees into his high school workshop to teach woodworking. The scene is a reminder of the vision and energy of those who have gone on before. The challenge is to draw on that memory as we continue our search for higher ground.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021



Two old men each

     more humble

           than the other

Old friends

     meeting for

         the first time

Lived separate



Making new memories

     by sharing

          old ones

Recycling old

     jokes to

          refill the now

Quietly hopeful

     to find


Tagging the past

     to reimagine


Quiet settles as

     humor cuts

          through regret

A current of

     love breaks all

          time barriers


     open for


Two old men

     together when


Each with

     his own 


*They agreed that at some point each would take a trip to  an undisclosed location. The one who reached the location would make an "x" with his chalk and if the other one reached the location first, he would rub it out. Makes absolutely no sense, until it does.

Monday, March 15, 2021


To Prepare the Soul

Weary travelers

     felt the

          force of Zazen

Surrendered to

     the moment


Received time

     to calm the


Freshen the

     spirit ease

          the soul

Silenced to

     open a

          new way

Today's truth

     pulled through





Allows the Yes

     to open the


Empties the trash

     of misused


Restarts the



In 1969, Sixteen university students and other adults took a self-guided three week independent tour in Japan. We booked our own travel and made our own arrangements with friends we mostly met along the way. Our overnight stay in Eigengi Zen Buddhist Monastery on Lake Biwa where we were introduced to Zazen meditation, gave me a touchstone for my life today.

While I do not practice Zazen, I do find a refreshing power in those moments when I am able to be alone, still and quiet and to empty my mind. I almost always emerge more open to everyday signs of grace around me and to the presence of a loving God. It helps a lot, especially in these troubled times.

Call to meditation 

Eigenji Monastery (translated)

Cannot avoid death

Moments passing

Value this moment

Things change quickly