To learn the unwanted lesson
To walk the uneven path
To seek an unknown destination

What lesson must I learn
From estranged children
Seeking their own world
Needing freedom from mine

I learn the hard lesson
Of loving more
And holding less

What path must I walk
Through light and dark
Seeking my own God
Needing freedom from others

I walk the hard path
Of believing more
And knowing less

What destination lies ahead
As I stumble onwards
Seeking my own divinity
Needing freedom from depression

I seek the hard destination
Of accepting more
And trying less


My childhood was lived in awe
Awe of God, 
our Father Creator
Awe of Jesus Christ,
His only begotten Son
Awe of the Holy Ghost
Three Persons in one God
Awe of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church

Mostly awe of the Church

Each parish church 
Cathedral-like, darkly quiet
Each daily Mass 
Celebrated by the robed priest
In millennial choreographed Latin
The host, True Presence
Received on the properly prepared tongue
(By which I mean a tongue that belonged to someone who had gone to Confession on Saturday)
No wine then, except for the priest

The buildings
The statues
The candles
The incense
The pews
The Communion rail
The Repository
Everything bejeweled

Awe everywhere
Awe enough to shout down questions
Awe enough to shut down mouths
Awe enough to wound, again and again

And always, all around
Just outside the triune God
And His church
Just outside
Was awe enough for anyone

Leaf Rain

“It’s raining leaves”
Mom is beyond the autumn of her life
Living through the deep winter of loss
Even those of us a generation younger
Are now old ourselves

Her world overflows with bad news
Sometimes a drizzle
As she learns of a younger relative
Entering assisted living
Sometimes a torrent
Death, disease, disability
Drumming a sad song
On the roof of her mind

Born and raised in steadily green
Southern Louisiana
She reacts with a child’s glee
To Virginia autumn

I thank Mother Nature
For small blessings
That make a 98 year old
Sound young:
“It’s raining leaves.”

Law And Love

Law pulled my eyes up to God
Somewhere above sky and stars
Beyond sun and Milky Way
Greater than greater
Stronger than strong
Longer than long
Giving the law
That we must follow
To reach his high exalted throne

Law pushed my eyes down on myself
And on others
We sin, venial and mortal
Close to worthless
We fail, time and again
To follow our high Father’s perfect law

It is hard to love
When you feel worthless
Hard to love
When you feel unworthy
Hard to love
When you look down
On being human

Love, oh love
Set my eyes straight
Taught me to look at flowers
Trees, bees, grass, dogs, fireflies
Love held me still
When the black snake 
Into our small pond
When the dragonfly
Across the back porch
When Woody 
My face to his chest

God To Me

(“Ada’s poem” refers to Ada Limon’s poem, What It Looks Like To Us And The Words We Use”)

My morning question
“What does God look like to me today?”

(Seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far far away)
The image of God
Came easily
An old bearded man
Finger outstretched
To create, yes
But also to blame
And to damn

(try mediating on THAT as you sit on the toilet)
Quick to condemn

Sacrificing His own Son
In His thirst for justice
(Or was it jealous vengeance)

The perfect son
Of the perfect mother
Both virginal
Both suffering
Both lonely
Impossible role models

And the Holy Spirit to complete that triune God
Later I learned this theological nonsense:
The Father’s knowledge of Himself is the Son
The love between Father and Son is the Holy Spirit

The best thing about this
In the theology of the Catholic Church
Is that no woman is necessary
No desire, no lust
No messy menstruation
No messier childbirth
All clean, neat, sterile


Then, for years
I knew the Goddess
First as part of that Trinity
But more and more
On her own
Her own trinity
Virgin, Mother, Crone
Adventurer, nurturer, wise woman

Now my answer more often
Resembles Ada’s poem
Divinity is the name I give
To the supernatural immanence
Of this gloriously natural world
To Gaia, to humanity 
To the eternity questing of my own spirit

A Day of Atonement

Just imagine
For one moment
A day of atonement

One day
Each year

What would my life be
I wonder

With a day of atonement
Each year

Well, to start, maybe
I would only have 364 days
Of regrets

No need, perhaps
To carry still
65 years later
That stupid mistake
That angered Sister Rosemarie

No need, perhaps
To carry still
56 years later
That stupid mistake
That angered my parents

No need, perhaps
To carry still
47 years later
Those stupid mistakes
That ended my marriage

No need, surely
For indulgences
Worth centuries in Purgatory

No need for weekly repeated
Forgive me, Father, 
For I have sinned

Such a restful possibility
Such a sure foundation
For tomorrow

These I_s

I swim through the universe 
As it shapes itself around me
Holding me close

As it shapes around
A pebble
A blade of grass
An ant
An elephant
A mountain

As fish swim
Through the ocean
Hugged so close
That the waters
Ripple around their bodies 

So we swim
Through the universe
Hugged so close
That space
Ripples around us

These ripples
Where I meets I
Ah, these ripples
These I_s
Create divinity