Tuesday, February 9, 2016


                        THE PACIFIC
                           (for Matt)

at the horizon where sky and ocean meet
no boat or island    the pure curved seam
a conjoining of the elemental and infinite
I breathe it boundlessly for the first time

at the horizon where sky and ocean meet
I'm scoured clean    simplified   opened out
everything false and puny stripped away
the spirit starts shouting: Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

at the horizon where sky and ocean meet
to be obliterated is to be reborn    to know
nothing    the quintessence of all wisdom
dwindling ever smaller   I vanish into Joy


      Last summer I visited my son Matt in L.A., and we spent much time on the shore of The Pacific Ocean. This was only my second time encountering The Pacific--but in spirit, really my first. This time I absorbed the experience through every pore, and the above poem is one result. Another was a drawing I did a few months later, titled "My Pacific."


low    full    and dusky in the east tonight
ancient spellbinder    you compel my eyes
seducing my heart    even though I realize
you're just a barren cratered ball of stone

but that's only one of your countless guises
another--intimate companion of my soul
we talk when there's nobody else to listen
what passes between us   I'll never reveal

before oceans filled or mountains thrust up
you were there    when glaciers first froze
your shining glittered across their crevasses
shamans conjured your oracles--entranced!

this night it's just you   me   and the cosmos
beyond loving and loss    death and grieving
I drink deep from your well of what endures
time/Eternity    meet in our communion now


      The moon and I always have had a special bond. Most nights I look up to check where she is, whether waxing or waning, new or full. On this particular night there was a harvest moon, riding "low   full   and dusky in the east..." I was awed by her beauty, and felt an intimate communion between us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


                       THE HIGHEST

I fumble for words    there are no words
not for the Highest    no syntax matches
but I call it Thou    Thou transcending all
creating all    infusing all    embracing all

The Highest because lowest    the greatest
because least    ever yet never--a paradox!
music so fiercely sweet    I ache to hear it
silence so sweetly fierce    I gladly drown

every spoke converges at Thou    each life
pivots on the axle of that invincible bliss!
rain spatters    chanting the primal name
the sun blazes    refracting a cosmic smile

most wise because foolish    inexhaustible
because empty    never yet ever--a mystery!
truth so transparent    I can't perceive it
love so incandescent I'm too blind to see

I fumble for words    there are no words
not for the Highest    just awed devotion
this yearning ascent of my whole being
this translation of my soul to the stars...


      I adore Beethoven, and one of my favorite works by him is The Missa Solemnis. It's so richly infused with passionate faith, love and joy! After listening to it yet again a while ago, I wanted to express in poetry, however inadequately, the ecstatic spirit and inspirational message I hear in this music. In doing so, I discovered it felt necessary to pack every line with paradoxical metaphors for God. Classical music by the great composers has lifelong, implicitly--and sometimes, as here, explicitly--been a primary source of poetic influence and inspiration.

                     THE GIFT

all that these words can never say
is what I mean    all that these eyes
can't see is what I want to show you

take away    take away    take away
Who's left is The Gift    Emptiness
come awake    breathe that Emptiness

lost deep in Its silence    a Singing!
the no-sound within   beyond all sound
high  holy  sweet--Music of the Spheres!

we're just one fleck of sentient foam
scattered from a single moonlit wave
cresting on the Sea which has no shore

we're a somewhat squirmy something
wrapped around a Riddle    a Paradox
a Sky turned inside out--The Infinite!

for a short while we live and die--doing
this crazy rumba of stuff and nonsense!
then vanish into The Meaning moving all


       Paradox again. There's really no other way to even approach saying what's beyond words. The name of the game, when writing ecstatic verse, can only be to try to point meaningfully toward the Divine Mystery, realizing that beyond this, the rest is cloaked in a Singing Silence. It's a Holy Fool's game, and thankfully I'm just the Holy Fool born to play it!