Poem: Dark Passages

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Dark Passages

Dark passages
lead to light.

That is all you need to know.
All that sustains you.
The whole of your truth.

Dark passages
lead to light.

This is your biography,
your strategy,
the path before you and behind you,

Full of promise
in the midst of the dark chemicals
inside your brain.

Victory, it seems,
is in the persistence,
the refusal to stay in place,

to move, never fleeing
always forward, always
even in the face of fear.

Especially in the face of fear,

Dark passages
lead to light.

Poem: One Day Closer

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One Day Closer

It is the third day of a rare February melt
and still, the snow remains, grey in the morning,
the colors of old grass and wheat still buried,
just out of sight.

The creeks are high. Blocks of ice catch on fallen trees.
The water is angry, awakened from its winter sleep.

Today will tell the tale.
Another day of melt and the colors will return.
The landscape will burst with the browns and yellows,
almost dead things will become bright in comparison
to the smothering white snow.

You stand and look across the lake.
You feel the breeze for a hint of warmth
and find none. It is winter still
and you tighten your scarf around your neck.
The day will be a long one, cold and hard, but
one day closer to spring.

About this poem

About Winter. About life.


Poem: The Mystic Print Shop.

Mystic Print Shop

The Mystic Print Shop

The bins are full of
letters of lead.

There is a message in there.
if only I could find it.
If only it would stop changing.

About this poem

A mood thing. Intensely personal.

On the other hand, the picture really is of the Mystic Seaport Print Shop, making the poem wonderfully surfacy at the same time. (There I go making up words again.)



Poem: A Bloody Refusal


A Bloody Refusal

What if I refused to play?
Refused to hate, refused to conquer,
refused to raise my sword
and leave you as bloody
as you left me,
refused to seeth, insisted
on letting the firestorm pass over me
and bear the burns
instead of fighting back and searing your flesh
as surely as you have marred mine?

What if I prayed for you each day
like a monk’s daily devotions,
if I felt your sadness each time your whip
cut into me and cried less
for myself than your refusal to release yourself
from the agony of your own choices.

What if I refused,
yes, I say it again, refused
to sacrifice my soul on the altar of your hate
and simply bore it without words, without the truth
that would scourge you far worse
than the blood you have let from my tender flesh,
the blood that has run across the floor,
and marred the places I live and love.

Am I then a sacrifice?
A fool?
Is my silence mistaken for weakness?
Does it matter?

Ah that then, is the crux.
Does it matter, this refusal of mine,
this silent madness?
Is it wisdom?
Is it faith?
Is it a lost art? Is it better lost
or should I join the frey
and unleash the truth and anger that bubbles
like poison
just beneath my placid face?

I sigh beneath my scars.
Never sure.
Watching my blood seep into the floorboards
and staining each and every one,
life taking it’s leave with each crack of your whip,
not quite mad,
not quite saint, something different,
invisibly human,
body broken,
soul soaring,
I fly,
Broken wings and all.

About this poem

Personal and political. Both. Either.  A poem of faith and wonder. Tainted by Matthew 5:5, a verse I struggle with constantly.


Poem: Ragamuffin Man

Hartford NY 6

Ragamuffin Man

You lay late at night,
work done,
prayers said,
well used,
the day’s battle fought,
never won,
never lost,
perhaps with a lesson
to move you forward

This is the you never seen.
The ragamuffin man,
with little left,
desiring to dance,
more than you can know,
to jitterbug and wail the blues
in a major key.
So tired.
So very tired.

But you do not surrender,
for you have in the past and it led to nothing,
certainly not the rest desperately needed,
not the refreshing. No,
your surrender led only to another, and another
and a dead time,
a black hole in your life
that even today feels vague,
and dangerous.

And so you lay, morning now,
just for a moment.
You open your tired soul
and trust God to find it,
and feed you like a starving child,
until you can stand,
wobbly as a newborn
and walk again, sword in hand,
an uncertain warrior,
more afraid of surrender than defeat.

About this poem

A history lesson. Nothing more.


Poem: Faint Light


Faint Light


of the timing and color, or even
if morning will come,

for there are days, weeks,
lifetimes when it has never arrived,
when darkness lived far beyond
it’s natural life span.

And you survived.

That is your mantra,
that you are old and your skin is tough
and your scars are worn proudly
like a Warriors’ jewels,
gaudy and horrible, terrible signs
of a strength you had no idea lived inside of you,

But now you know

and the knowing brings you peace,
And patience
to outwait the silence. The dark.
To will the light that once you believed was beyond the horizon
until you discovered
it lived within you,
waiting only for your call.

About this poem. 

Mostly I believe this. Sometimes I don’t feel it. But I choose to believe it anyway.


Poem: Confusion

West Pawlet Sky


The light fades spectacularly into night,
saving its finest colors for last.
You sit, as you have all day,
and watch the change from afar,
breathing the air as it changes
from warm to December cold,
breathing in the darkness at it approaches.

Soon it will be dark again
and you will not be able to tell friend from foe.
Everything will look the same
as the battle begins again, the struggle
to know what is and what is imagined
as you stumble your way home.

About this poem. 

Truth? It’s hard stuff to find. It shouldn’t be, but it is. It takes more patience than most of us have.