Poem: Walk of Faith


Walk of Faith

You leave as dawn lights the skies.
Grey fog cloaks everything.
Even the familiar takes on an air of mystery.

You cannot see very far down the path.
The world is grey.
Strange limbs reach out from the fog
like wretched arms from hell.

You have walked this path before,
but there is nothing comfortable in this place.
None of the landmarks you trust can be seen.

But you have walked this path before.
and so you walk. Forward. Always forward.
Even if nothing you know is before you,
you trust the path.

About this poem.

I think there is a reason they call it a “walk of faith.”  You can read the poem as a poem about faith, or simply about a walk on a foggy morning. Or, as I have learned, something else entirely. You readers and friends are often far more creative with my verse than I am.

The picture was taken near West Pawlet, Vermont.




Poem: The Deception of Collapse


The Deception of Collapse

The walls stand. Little else does.
The roof has fallen in.
The floors have collapsed.
Not a shard of glass remains.
The rain falls. The rubble rots. But

As long as one wall,
one brick of the foundation remains,
there is rebuilding to be done.
Possibilities, small as they are, exist.

The work will be slow.
Do not deceive yourself.
It will be painful.
Do not deceive yourself.

But do not deceive yourself:
It is possible.

About this poem

My favorite quote is from Churchill. I have a small brass plaque on my desk I see every day. “Never, ever, ever, give up.”.  It has sustained me through many a dark time.

The picture is of an old factory in Turner’s Falls, Mass.


Poem: Repeat as Needed


Repeat as Needed

A simple solution.
Hot water.
A small glass with ice and an amber liquid.
Just one.
Just enough.
Perhaps a bit of slow jazz on the radio.

Let the broken things dissolve.
Let the sins of the day, the falling short,
The hurrying is done. The damage is done.
It is time to heal, and healing comes slow.

Let the water, steaming and crystal clean,
cleanse deeper than skin,
cleanse the deeper wounds, the unseen blood of the day.

Hot water.
So simple.
So strong.
Repeat as needed.

About this poem

Some people are shower people. Some are bath people. I am a bath person.

It has nothing to do with getting clean.



Poem: Rest



There is no rest.
The steel is strong, forged in fire,
made hard and ready, and yet
each turn of the wheel wears away
invisible slivers. Steel dust accumulates,
adds to the grind,

for there is no rest.
No time to rest.
To clean away the dangerous debris.
It becomes steel against steel,
self against self,
the most implacable foe.
an inevitable and slow suicide
without rest.

There is no rest.

About this poem

We all need rest. Few of us take it, preferring somehow to deal more with consequences than maintenance.


Poem: Tiny Funerals


Tiny Funerals

Each second echoes through the room.
The slow swing of a pendulum.
The audible click of each wooden gear.

The history in this room is palpable,
a thing not of furniture and time,
but souls and errors long passed,

The clock is old, two hundred years and more,
Look inside and you can see the repairs,
generations of them, patches and plugs delicately balanced,

a strange determination to measure to measure
not past or future, but the moment before us,
each click of the clock a passing,

a tiny funeral
of what could have been,
and what might be yet.

About this poem

This is one of those poems that started to be about one thing, and changed its mind.

I am nearly two years into my second marriage. Coming to it late in life, it’s a miracle to me, and every moment matters in a way it did not when I was young. The rejoicing in that is beyond anything I could have imagined.


Poem: A Choice of Weapons

snail 3.JPG

A Choice of Weapons

And when it is dark, you turn your eyes
to the small things.
A snail clinging to life, waiting or the next dew.
A cat purring and warm on your lap.
The next cup of coffee. And the next.

You change how you see, a soul
in need of peace the stormy horizon denies you.
And so you focus on the small, always beautiful,
too often missed, gifts.

The green of her eyes.
The smell of wood smoke in the distance.
The warm grain of antique wood on your desk.
Old shoes that fit invisibly on your feet.

Tiny things. A place to focus your broken spirit.
Reminders. Shields against the demons.
Powerful things, but only when wielded like a delicate sword
against the blackness that threatens you.

A single tree silhouetted against the sunset.
The smokey taste of bacon.
Photographs of your children.
The smiles of strangers. An army arrayed.
As powerful or as weak as you choose.

About this poem

When I first entered therapy, in the darkest of dark places, my therapist proscribed scripture, and the constant, conscious focus on the small, good things in my life. What a difference those small things have made. The power of noticing is beyond anything we understand.