Published on March 30, 2019 on the Ancient Paths Facebook page. The way is lonely and long, narrow and stony too,
with potholes, pitfalls, crumbling parts. It goes
through lonely valleys, darkened by low-hanging
clouds. It goes up steep mountainsides where hardly a
goat could pass. It’s terribly strange that in this
wilderness I see neither man nor beast, only God. I know He’s there for He picks me up when I fall and
start to bleed. I know He’s there when He chastens me
Published on the Ancient Paths Facebook page on April 6, 2019. Large
As Omaha in 1958 My Fear visited for months
My father every night
In Saint Joseph’s Hospital My Fear wanted
To speak to him
Or Gaelic My Fear peeled the words
Of every English sentence
Floating inside my skull
Sloshing around my heart
My Fear feasted on that silence #AncientPathspoems #AncientPathsarchive
Published on April 13 on the Ancient Paths Facebook page. On the sidewalk,
After the soft snow fell
Over stark tree branches
Over the white hospital walls,
And caking outside the windows
After I had sat smiling
With a senile woman
Moaning about her daughter’s
And the anonymous footsteps
That had passed in front
Of her door and which did not stop
The never ending silence
Distilling her sad cry’s,
I saw a crucifix
Engraved in the conc
Published April 14, 2019 on the Ancient Paths Facebook page. Palms wave as the congregation
sings Hosanna! Hosanna!
Joel tickles his little brother’s neck
with his tall palm branch.
Cindy reaches hers into the aisle,
dragging the tip across red carpet. I remember the year my daughter
waved her palm wildly,
brushing the hair of the brunette
in the row ahead.
After church the organist
and turned anger on me.
I hung my head
and scolded all the way home.
Published on the Ancient Paths Facebook page April 18, 2019 A thought emanates from within gray-matter.
See how the head cocks, first one side then the other.
No recourse, fear, far or near makes mind chatter,
constantly searching for fathers or mothers. Anxiety plagues the faint of heart, eyes downcast,
they fear a forward gaze, downcast like Lucifer
for they are faithless. The light of morning surpassed.
What chance do they have in the role Judas suffered? In their fa
The old man stroked his beard
Bent low over his texts
Eyes grown dimmer Outside workmen are finishing some project
The hammer blows seem loud as thunder
A shudder runs through him with each blow
He recalls a journey long ago
Mile on mile
Sore foot weary camels
Frankincense gold and myrrh
Chasing a singular star Today the stars show at midday
The sun is eclipsed
He wonders what it means
Bowed low over his books
Eyes grown dimmer
A shudder runs through him Publish
On tiptoe I creep. Across
his room; Each
His bedside lamp glows
a pale yellow
the halo atop his head.
And there, lying beside him
our old pal Max, distressed
(yet again) he
will not sail
out of weeks
Forgotten. Book replaced on shelf, I gaze upon
my little cherubim
soft pudgy cheeks, bright red,
His eyebrows wrinkle
as he dreams
It is too pleasing. I tried to work Thanksgiving at the soup kitchen
though I waited too long and they didn’t need me.
I whittled Thanksgiving away reading;
waiting for the big bus to come and scatter
the dull yellow patterans that had repaved the road
overnight; and waiting for the time to kill Thanksgiving,
to knock it out of the air
as the wind blows squirrel’s nest leaves
out of the tree. Winter is the season for the dead,
remembering, as in the mass at Halloween
In a Sunday morning meadow,
the dewed grass bows to pray.
The sun is in its pulpit
to chase the clouds away.
Swallows swoop like angels
with gentle grace and ease,
as a chorus of heavenly birdsong
rises from the trees.
Bees commune on nectar
from the flowers growing wild,
while a cricket chants a homily
he eagerly compiled.
A snake slithers across the grass
to seek the promised sun,
who pours down its golden rays
to enlighten everyone. Published on the Ancient
—for Rajan Cloud and his Momma, 2016 All that time, you were in God’s mind.
He knew you were coming before your Momma did.
Still He knew her soul longed for a you.
And there you were, so busy growing. Your little heart and its secret pumping
still had so much work to do.
You were folded in your mother, hidden inside her,
as God has carried her throughout her life. What she wants for you now, such a precious blessing,
is that you never doubt you were made in love.
Arriving at the chapel gates come noon,
Almighty He allowed a moment's rest
To those who'd had to keep their
Warm and best emotions to themselves. As gladly as arriving birds the folk had felt
The Lord of Lords and Angels be;
Accordingly, they'd give their utmost. . . . Appearances remain the kind of stuff
A fool will go by, but the best believe
Aright and give so as to love;
They thereby nullify the core
Of non-existence. Many days and nights are we allowed sometime
My thoughts feel cold and cracked today
like brittle autumn leaves.
My heart dries up and I’m afraid,
and life is misery.
My mind projects so many fears;
I’m paralyzed and broken.
Alone within my grim despair,
I wander through emotion. My hopes fade into memory,
and faith creates no peace.
Now courage is the only thing
that brings my soul relief.
Each day is like the one before,
and every dream is crushed.
I seek to find an open door,
so God and love will come.
I show my house the pictures of you
ask it if it remembers when you lived closer
when you were a frequent guest. I feel the ache and the strain
of a house trying to uproot itself, as if
it were some great, lazy dog trying to find the will to move
twitching its tail in a futile attempt
to attract attention to itself. I, too, wish I could find some way to reach you
that doesn’t require the enormous effort it takes to get to the airport
or make plans that involve weeks a
with steel balls
and a wire brush
wishing he was
wearing motorcycle leathers,
going wild and crazy,
stares cross-eyed at the
Sistine Chapel ceiling-
nose touching moist paint,
body stretch out on a plank,
bones held by ropes from falling-
delirious, painting that face of Jesus
and the Prophets
with a camel hair brush;
in such a position, transition
a genie emerges as a poet-
words not paint
start writing his sonnets,
a second career is born-
While waiting for the Greyhound bus,
my dad and I, the two of us,
recounted pleasant moments passed:
the memories we had amassed,
experienced, and oft discussed. Our dialog continued thus—
light-hearted and extraneous—
until we saw the bus at last
while waiting. We said goodbye without much fuss;
I stepped into the ominous,
uncharted future from the past
not knowing how my die was cast
and feeling I grew up too fast
while waiting. Published on the Ancient Paths Fa
"Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips
and spreads slander is a fool."
—Proverbs 10:18 We whistle the wanton wind
And once unfurled,
There’s no going back
To a world before gossip.
Tongues wag and flap with ease
In the envious, polluted breeze
Like flags at half-mast.
And even some bystanders below
Salute the contagious rumors—
That fester and blister the soul,
Malignant and blind as tumors.
And so the disease spreads
Like mold behind a shelf.
Life finds a way.
In boiling springs
And toxic waters
Come alive. Life finds a way
On ocean floors.
In utter dark
Biolumined creatures spark:
Life finds a way. Life finds a way
In solid rock,
On wind-blown scree
Clings stubborn tree:
Life finds a way. Life finds a way.
High, high on ancient peak,
Mid snow-drifts deep
Snow leopards sleep:
Life finds a way. God finds a way.
Through boiling springs;
Through utter darkness;
If you watched him
stand up and walk to the pulpit today,
you’d never know. If you lingered and listened to him sing
“The Anchor Holds” like a lullaby,
you’d never know. If you sat with rapt attention
while he waved about reaching out,
you’d never know that a few years back,
he fell off a roof,
cracking his world open. A few years back,
he lay in bed with long suffering.
Light, constantly shifted about him. A few years back,
a symphony of prayers,
visible love and
Your advice makes sense to me, St. Ignatius.
For I find that when I’m immersed
in the raw materials of His creation,
I’m most open to Him, most likely to pray; I prefer to imagine a laborer’s wife,
clothed in coarse fabric
whose chafing she hasn’t felt
since the fisherman said her son was taken away.
She fell to her knees,
unable to breathe. When her son’s pain has ended
she doesn’t know how hers will.
His body wasn’t this long or heavy
the last time she cradled it
A tulip poplar
In my backyard
the sudden terrible crack
covered its beloved trunk
with a spider web of blue flame.
the acrid smell of
began the rot that would consume it.
what chance moment
will come and cover me
with a web of blue flame
and reveal my molding self-
Can what lies rotten
in me flower again?
And what of grac