When the Wild Appears

In the forest
not far from the house
coyotes serenade moon shadows
climbing tall tree tops
disappearing into early morning sky

First, their sporadic yelps
then deep soulful cries
telling mythic stories only wild spirits can know
Our ears, tuned to another octave
mistake their passion for lonely discontent

For one fleeting moment
something wild, and unmistakably foreign
bubbles up inside us
Desperately lipsynching their sounds
we awkwardly hope to understand

Then, in scant early morning light
slender dog-like outlines appear
Sensing their presence, we kneel
thanking God for His presence, and
wondering where our wildness has gone

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Winter Zen

Winter’s eve drawing nigh
Dark clouds hover, January sky
Fading firelight, flickers gloom
Dancing barefoot ‘cross the room

Huddled shadows hushing night
In your arms hold me tight
Sharp-edged snowflakes fall so still
White frost clings, nearby window sill

Longing for what’s not there
No comfort found, my rocking chair
Sitting still, motionless
Holding on, memories caress

Brutal cold winter night
Full moon shining, oh so bright
Sitting still by the fire
Surrender there, all desire

Life Between Our Plans

Remember when you were ten
and thought at twenty-one
you’d be all grown up and perfectly happy?

Then, when you were thirteen
your father dropped dead of a heart attack
and your family all but fell apart.

Remember when you were twenty-one
and thought at forty
you’d have life all figured out?

Then, just as you finished college at twenty-two
you became pregnant with Jessica
and your plans to become a trial lawyer ended.

Remember when you were forty-five
all three kids were on their own, and you thought
you could launch a writing career?

Then, two days after your first book was accepted
your mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and
all your energy shifted to caring for her.

Remember when you were sixty-five
had published eight books, and you thought
Tom and you could finally relax and smell the roses?

Then, when you were sixty-seven
Tom died after a prolonged battle with cancer
and Jessica entered rehab for alcoholism.

Remember just yesterday, on your eighty-third birthday
you marveled at how life seems to happen
in between all the plans we make?

Nothing could be more true.

The True Blessings of Christmas

Look about
So much we have
Much more than needed
Certainly to survive
Let alone be happy

Deep down we sense
happiness is without attachment
Not another possession
Not from having anything, or anybody
Happiness: unconditional and beyond conditioning

Again, Christmas’ spell falls upon us
Showering us with so much–
The fruits of our conscious desires,
our bubbling hopes, and
even stronger, our unconscious dreams

It’s the dreams making me wonder
So powerful. Like nuclear bombs
exploding inside us
Rippling throughout our beings
Giving rise to that before the expected

Yes, look about
See past what you see
Hear beyond the words
Receive Christmas’ true blessings:
Peace, joy, gratitude, and love

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

About the Carol: 180 years ago the carol “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht”
was heard for the first time in a village church in Oberndorf, Austria.
The congregation at that Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church listened
as the voices of the assistant pastor, Fr. Joseph Mohr, and the choir
director, Franz Xaver Gruber, rang through the church to the accompaniment
of Fr. Mohr’s guitar. On each of the six verses, the choir repeated the last
two lines in four-part harmony.

Merry Christmas, Words Coming Close

The Holy, born within us
God’s seed resting, and awaiting
the right moment to open

Starting as a dream, bubbling up
filling us, and then
enveloping our being, like golden sunshine

His promise, now ours to keep
and grow through our lifetime
Not in one way, but all ways

In His likeness, we grow
Wedded to something higher
Something Christ-like

Ever-present, ineffable
Always there, lifting up our spirits
just when we need it

Perfectly unlimited, beyond words
but one said so many ways comes close: Merry Christmas
Èestit i sretan Božiæ, Christhu Jayanthi Nalvaalthukal
Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Kreesmasko shubhkaamnaa
Noheli nziza, Eid Milad Majeed
Froehliche Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël
Felices Navidad, Bon Natale

Christmas Memories

Memories, Christmases past
Fond ones, childhood fantasies
Sugar plums dancing through our heads
Magical ones, dreams materializing under the tree

Not just about things, but people
Those we love, family, friends
Surprise, a heavy snowfall on Christmas Eve
Blanketing earth, silencing the daily clamor

Wonder, the Christ Miracle, wrapped in story
Unfolded, enacted, over and over again
Finally, engraining itself in our souls–
Its purpose in the first place

Learning to give, of ourselves, to others
Family, hearts tethered together
Those loving us most, and
Giving to us before themselves

Beauty in color, rainbows donning evergreens
Wispy gray smoke, spirits drifting across rooftops
Bright reds and greens, blood and life eternal
Rosy cheeks, Jack Frost nipping at our toes

Special sounds, sleigh bells in the snow
Christmas carols, Silent Night
Hearty laughter, tears of joy, and
Best of all, hovering golden silence

Christmas, always going beyond ourselves
In so doing, finding our true selves
Christmas, the magic inside us
Christmas memories, remembering life is a gift