My Mary

An angel describes,
How great her son will be.
A teenager asks,
“Aren’t you forgetting one thing –
I’m a virgin.”

A mother speaks to her grown son,
Gives him THAT LOOK.
He sighs,
And takes care of the wine problem.

A woman stands erect and unmoving,
Defying Romans, Jews and grief itself,
To watch her son die a criminal.

The church statues?
No time for them.
The meek mild ever virgin?
No need for her.

Mary the impudent,
Mary the importunate,
Mary the brave,
She is my Mary.


What Counts

If time is what counts, then we have little left
Most of life is behind us

If money is what counts, then we have enough
Mostly we can do what we want

If friends are what counts, then we have a few
Good and close and cherished

If family is what counts, then we have complications
Some good, some bad, some indifferent

If faith is what counts, then we have doubt
Trying to worship a God we are not sure exists

If achievement is what counts, then we have satisfaction
Good careers behind us

If security is what counts, then we have an abundance
Because we live as middle class white Americans

If class is what counts, then we have risen
Above our parents’ class

If service is what counts, then we have opportunities
Every day, in small ways and larger

If love is what counts, then we have everything

Grains of Sand

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…
William Blake


she thought and,
swift as her thought,
she wadded up the bit of paper and
shot it across the table at her brother.
“That’s enough,”
warned their mother,
even as her brother
was wadding up his napkin.


She turned the piece of wood over in her hands,
But no.
It really wasn’t good for anything
but burning.
As she threw it onto the pile,
she thought of the bonfire that she would make
some autumn evening.


She scrunched up the remnant in both hands,
for the trash.
But her hands,
paying no attention to her thoughts,
began to fold it.
she opened the old trunk,
already stuffed,
and added the remnant.
“As soon as I throw it away,
I will want it.
And it is so pretty.
Maybe someday it will be
a dress for a grandchild’s doll.”


She laughed,
“It’s almost 10:00 and we’re still in bed.
I like being retired.
We’re like teenagers.
Now what would teenagers be doing in bed together?”
Much love and laughter and tenderness later,
“People probably look at us and say,
‘Oh, too bad they met so late in life.
They will have so little time together.’
But I feel like our time is wide and deep,
now and enough.”


The thought came and slipped away.
A birthday party.
Where was her mother?
Someone asked her,
“Who was your best friend when you were a child?”
The form of the question confused her.
“My best friend is Ethel.”
Another question,
“Did Ethel live near you?”
she wondered at the form of the question,
“Ethel lives two doors down.”
Ah that thought again,
“I’m 92 today.”


God “is at once infinite solitude (one nature) and perfect society (Three Persons).”
Thomas Merton


Three in One
Father, Son, Holy Spirit


One God
Three Persons


Infinite solitude
Perfect society



One word
to contain the inexhaustible


One word
To surround the infinite


One word
To approach the perfect


Maybe Love is a better Word

Sparks of thoughts

Bright trails of burning sparklers
The years behind
How many ahead

Do years bring
[wisdom, forgiveness, charity, gratitude]
Do years soften or harden
[hearts, minds, arteries, beliefs, bodies, souls]

I do not suffer fools gladly
And sometimes I think
Most people are fools
And sometimes I think
I am the biggest fool of all

Aftermath II

The wind is stilled
The earth is quiet
The fire is quenched
I hear the whispered questions

Who will love justice
Who will carry the burden of injustice
Who will know their own failings
Who will walk on troubled waters
Who will reach for My hand
When sinking with the weight of sin
With the exhaustion of trying
With the failure of understanding

Let me recognize
My privilege
My prejudice
My racism
My failures in love
Let me grasp God’s steadfast love for all
And enduring faithfulness to me. Amen