Saturday, December 11, 2021


Kyoto Madonna

In a train station dimmed and

     drab people scurried

          without touching

A young mother's adoring gaze

     allowed light and peace

          for those with patient eyes

Her babe held secure with

     love transparent the mother

          ready to share the joy

Our eyes met and with a smile

     she spoke and invited

          a moment of grace

Did I want to hold her baby

     bridged all barriers

          real and imagined

Light sourced from the

     babe the mother

          illuminated the moment

A train moved in

     broke the spell and

          they were gone

I never raised my camera

     but recorded the moment

          in my soul

I coded my story of the Madonna

     moment to peruse later

          and caught the next train


Saturday, November 27, 2021

 Movable Mountain

Descending into

     the Bighorn

          Basin on 296

Slowed to fifty

     stopped by the

          sight of the mountain

Breathe hear feel the

     silent exploding

          reverential beauty

Fifty million years

     ago it was a 500 square

          mile breakaway

Rock that left the plateau

     slid sixty two miles

          in thirty minutes

The hardened larva gave us today's

     8'000 foot mountain with

          the old rock on top of new

The Kiowas called this upside

     gift Heart Mountain its western

          view an expansive beauty

Beauty had a bitter twist

     for 14,025 Japanese

          Americans in '42

Forced from their West Coast homes

     by jingoistic paranoia left

          rootless in Wyoming

Looked at the mountain daily

     from behind barbed

          wire and tar paper barracks

One's view of the mountain's beauty

      depended on which

          side one lived on

Barbed wire rolled up in 1945

     leaving one shack

          damage done

Freed from the camp lesson

     learned internees left

          Wyoming's loss


Today I live where

     mountains don't

          grow or slide

But where faster than a

     speeding bullet Covid

          rams returns rams

With an impact that

     distorts truth and

          threatens hope

While we watch

     mindlessly mired

          in denial

Past memories and future

     dreams turned

          upside down

And we are left to sort through

     the rubble decide what to

          cherish for rebuilding

Must we blend the past

     and knead the future to

         fashion a livable now

Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Not My Final Answer

(at the prospect of turning 90)

Something funny happened

     must stay awake when

          it happens again

The moving finger

     writes to extend three

          score and ten

Now that I

     have forgiven

          my past

Having escaped

     the illusion

          of boxes

Living in the intense

     reality of


Engaged in

     the search for

          better questions

Letting go of the

     clutch of clever

          defense mechanisms

Shaking off

     the need

          to fit in

Joyously aware that

     age is not a


Enriched by rare


          of joy

Injured when I didn't

     know enough

          to be sorry

Scars of mostly

     self-inflicted bumps

          and bruises

Little time left

     to belabor

          life's offenses

No room to host

     fear or


Cutting back

     on sighing

          and arguing

Going to bed in

     love waking up

          in love

Reviewing new

     ways to say

          thank you

Tracing new designs

     from recycled


Challenged by

     a God that

          grows with me

Saturday, August 21, 2021





          as I

Keep the energy

     lose the fear

          accept the grace

Reserve anger's energy

     to break the evil

          build hope's path

Embrace the dark

     look through

          the pain

Forgive the past

     accept healing

          strengthen joy

Stay the course

     play the ball

          where it lands

Rest my soul

     pause to thank

          rise to pursue

Just so will

     I write

          my life

Monday, August 16, 2021


A Memoir of Sorts

The fourth move in as many

     years leaving little

          to carry

It could have been a pro

     shop when faded

          dreams still had a pulse

Two rooms one faucet

     and a necessary

          path out back

Three people who would

     live without privacy

          and still have love

Dad displaced from the

     classroom by

          diseased feet

Growing minnows in a

     hatchery where golfers

          would have played

Mother counting and selling

     fish bait little money

          hard life honest work

Sunrise to sunset and beyond

      they worked through

          pain and sorrow with humor

My inheritance would be truthtelling

     honest dealing the

          saving grace of humor

I used a rifle my grandfather once

     swapped his warped false teeth

          for to shoot bullfrogs

I mostly kept my rebellion

     to myself and when I didn't

          dad's weakness was the paddle

I carried more books home

     from school than

          anyone except Lois Gordon

I opted out on football

     memorized Shakespeare

          recited to mother

Moments of joy

     punctuated the


My sister was born there later

     I would claim to be an

          only child as could she

Dad's health improved they left

     the cabin mother got

          a job I left home

The log cabin long gone can't

     imagine that a single person

          has missed it

Hard times linger in memory

     good has a longer

          attention span

Valued imprint left on my psyche

     comes in handy in repacking

          my metaphorical suitcase

Saturday, August 7, 2021


A Life in Progress

The clerk smiled

     when she

          said it but

Have a



I accept it

     as a


Check out



Hold out




     is often





Concede the


          certify light

Look both

     ways look


Revise and


          my life

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

Saturday, March 6, 2021


To Redeem the Moment

In the world

     I choose to

          live in

In the suffering

     of the


Humor holds

    the door


Lights the path through

     fearful forces

          darkening times

Sits in the waiting

     room with

         the distressed

Loosens the

     cold grip of

          deepest grief

Laughter cracks the

     confining shell of


Goes the distance

     with those

          who suffer

Protects against



Will not give

     grief the

          last word







Saturday, February 27, 2021


In the valued

     stillness of

          the moment

I raise prayerlike

     thoughts of


For those who

     grapple with Covid's

          death dealingness

Who practice caring


          self security

And those who

     occasion healing


For those who

     bury the dead

          with dignity

Who draw on the

     heart to comfort

          the bereaved

And hold the door

     open for an

          infusion of hope

That all who suffer may

     remember joy         

          and reclaim peace

Saturday, February 6, 2021


How to Fix a Broken Compass

Moral compass

     to steady

          the course

Corroded by

     values held

          too loosely

Rusted by

     lack of


Disabled by

     frozen fear

          combustible hate

Corrupted by



Remagnetize to

     find spiritual


Recalibrate with



Ready to

     step on

          winding paths