Stair Dweller

I saw a man on a stairwell today.
Sitting on the floor.
I passed him quickly on my way.
A glance and nothing more.

His image though now haunts me.
A working man not free.
A man like me, living on these stairs.
Diligent yet in despair.

This is the world we’ve made for him.
Homes and bread for profit.
Where prices rise and futures dim.
Life lived out of pocket.

He smiled at me and cracked a joke.
His spirit still unbroke.
I realized then though life is tough.
Strong wills can be enough.
And while the world can seem unfair.
If each can just forbear.
We’ll find some peace and joy just like
the dweller on the stair.



Many Tears!

The angel of death blew in from the west.

Not raging of howling, with only a whisper.

Yet with it came turmoil, a horrible test.

And darkness so black I recoiled in terror.


She passed in the night, and when I awoke.

The vessel I sail in was far out to sea.

Ripped from its moorings, its bow lines all broke.

My port a small glimmer and difficult to see.


Returning was fruitless, the winds were against me.

The sun and the moon and the tides all were too.

Thrusting me further and further to sea.

My home port retreating, retreating from view.


Dense fog pressed me in, my way was obscured.

Thoughts swirling within me, found no place to land.

Distinctions, discernments, all lines were now blurred.

My vessel adrift, occupied yet unmanned.


I fell to my knees calling out to the heavens.

Help me, save me, oh Lord of my life.

Cut through this cruel fog, let me see your clear presence.

Show me your way into daylight my Christ.


The fog didn’t clear, my anxieties mounted.

I slumped in despair, my hoping in tatters.

Trapped in an eddy, all my powers confounded.

I awaited my doom now, and certain disaster.


This darkest of nights seemed to wear on.

Interminably, incessantly, time upon time.

No harbinger arriving to announce a new dawn.

Only mist and haze, keeping me blind.


If only the psalmist were right when he wrote,

That joy, our true joy will come in the morning.

Weeping shall only tarry for the night,

And sorrows, our sorrows shall all have an ending.


The memory of things that she loved made me sad,

Flowers and colors and scripture and song.

My tears started flowing, for which I was glad,

As the murk began parting which had plagued me so long.


Tears led to tears for her and for me,

For the loss of the goodness we shared through the years.

And sorrow for my own inadequacies,

Which keep me from loving because of my fears.


With the tears that I shed, the fog fell away.

As scales from my eyes, revealing the day.

The night of my sorrows was finally ending.

The psalmist was right, it was a good mourning.





True Home

Our mother created

a comfortable and peaceful place,

a true home in every sense of the word.


We were delivered

out of difficulties and lonely spaces,

into a warmth which radiated love.


Her home was always opened

to those who needed a kindly face,

and hers was most kind and full of light.


Now she is gone

her home will be sold,

and we are left to find our own way.


We search drawers and closets

hoping to be consoled,

finding solace in anything that speaks of her.


Sharing words

about her home and her life extolled,

huddling in the shadows left by a setting sun.


We are tempted to remain here

looking towards our past,

turning this place into a museum.


But grace will not allow us

sending plagues to disturb our rest,

forcing us to flee towards freedom.


Calling us to seek a better place

enjoying an eternal feast,

meeting again in a house with many mansions.



Two Roads Untaken (A Tribute to Robert Frost)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel either,

For having tripped upon my laces I no longer stood,

And upon my face there I brood,

And nevertheless enjoyed this unexpected breather.


The cool earthen soil was refreshing,

And though my plans had changed,

I looked upon those paths with no lamenting,

Nor for the steps I’d not be taking,

For I had rather found my peace there as I dreamed.


There stood a man before me all in white,

I thought that all my wits had come unglued,

He spoke such words as to delight,

He showed me what is wrong and what is right,

And laid my life before me to review.


When I awoke still at the crossing,

The sun was much lower in the sky,

With haste I tied my lacing,

And stood again to find the path that I’d be tracing,

A newer road with greater purpose before I die.



A Standing Shell

When the inside has crumbled,

how can the outside still stand?

This question I ponder,

as I survey the devastation within me,

left behind by the loss of my mother.


Strength, courage, comfort and joy,

wander aimlessly amidst the rubble.

Shell-shocked little children,

groping in the dark, searching for the light.

While anxiety plunders me, unabated.


It seems implausible that the whole edifice hasn’t come crashing down.

Flesh and blood, so solid and heavy,

suspended by what:

determination, will, fear?

keep me standing lest I fall, never to get up again.

or faith, hope, love?

a cord of three strands not easily broken,

invisible and difficult to understand.


Time heals all wounds,

and time turns everything here to dust.

Our lives sung out to a constant refrain of goodbyes.

Now a chorus of sorrow,

but tomorrow voiced with a strain of sweetness,

and eventually full-throated shouts of eternal joy.


The aimless will be reoriented,

and the dust will be reanimated.

What is now suspended around a fallen core,

Will be enlivened into life forevermore.




Perhaps there is no greater thing

than to wait.

Through waiting we are humbled.

Our lofty thoughts

are brought back to earth,

and we see that we are hungry,

like little birds searching the sky for our mothers.


There is nothing to be done.

So we wait.


The world crashes and clambers around us,

tall trees cracking overhead in the violent wind.

And we huddle down in our nests,

wondering what is next.

Our hearts beating the time along,

breaking a little too.


The food we sought from our mothers,

comes instead through our own broken hearts:

glistening sap, streaming forth honey–

amber love on fire, made manifest,

feeding us from the hand of God.



Crumpled Paper


Feeling like a crumpled piece of paper,

wet and muddy,

left in a corner of an empty house.

Cracked windows, dusty floors.

Someone puked on the tiles.


When I think of what is lost now,

nausea also rises in me.

Delirium, vertigo and an overflowing melancholy.

With tears too wet for words,

while words are helpless to express

this thing which really can’t be shared.


But there is hope,

I am told and I believe it.

A sun and a light breeze which will blow

through these hollow inner rooms,

breathing new life, straightening what is crumpled,

and healing what is sick.