Lion and Lamb


By Cora E. Cypser


ISBN: 0-9625774-4-8

Published by KIM PATHWAYS, 1992


Seek and You Shall Find


Lord, be with these hands

that they may write

only what is so.


Be with this mind

that it may think the truth

and reason out the truth.


Guide me in wisdom

for with all my heart

I seek to find you.




Isaiah 25:6


On this knoll rising

out of the infinite

the Lord has set a feast

for all peoples

a succulent word of life

of meaty thoughts

a banquet ushering in

the reign of love

for all.


We here can see

the shining of each other.

The plague of death

is gone forever

banished by that which hosts

the banquet table!



Psalm 39:12


Yahweh, I am your guest

in your house, earth

and I partake of all the bounty

at your table.

All good things

you dispense with lavish hand.


But what of those

the beggars at your door?

Please let them in

that they may share with me

and know you

for the generous host you are.


Must I play host for you

and  leave my favored place

to draw them in?

Why, I am but a puff of wind

a thimbleful of spirit.

How can I act for you

whose deeds declare forever?


Beyond Flesh


When they ate the produce of the land

there was no more manna.

God feeds us

until we can feed ourselves.

God  supports our bodies

until our spirits can live without bodies.




Roadway for The Ruler


Make way in the desert

a highway for our God!

There are winds of change blowing

the sands drifting, stinging


It is frightening

but the ruler is coming.

We must clear the sands

and lay stones for a highway.

Gather your white robes tight

over your faces

friends, sisters, brothers.

Pass the round worn rocks

from hand to hand.

Lay them.


Make the highway!



From Competitive to Cooperative


It’s time to take a jump for young mankind

a new direction, a new focusing.

Look how he runs,— competitive!

The race is to the swift.

The laurels, to the wise.

The gold is to the brave.

Are you a winner

or does anyone win

in all these races?

The winner is the loser—

jealous associates know him as fallible.

His run is criticized, his gait, his wind.

The others are too close behind.

It’s only chance that sends him

splitting tape, across the line.

Let’s cut these races and cooperate!




To Bless or Blunder?


Why did God make us?

To fail and blunder?

Through the hot summer

to lose our sense of wonder?


Where is the cool breeze?

The long iced draught under the trees?


Did God make us

that we might know sin and disease?


Where is the bond of brotherhood?

Always coming soon?

What good is it to live?

To live for what?

To touch the moon?

What good is that?


What good to fail and blunder?


Through the hot days

we lose

our sense of wonder.


God says

“I made you all to laugh

So laugh and bless!

It was a difficult task

to make a laughing life

and tie it in

with such a dangerous

and majestic world.”




Whistling in The Dark

It is dark

and it is scary.

This whole world

is kind of hairy.


So I praise

the God who made it

ask, I not be

afraid of it.

So I whistle

in the dark

like a silly

light-struck lark

waked at midnight

by the moon.


I hope I whistle

the right tune.



On Lions and Lambs

The place

where the lion lies down with the lamb

is the place

where the oppressed and the oppressors

can enter

into concerned and respectful communication

with each other.

It is a secure spot where each agrees to listen

and where each

is guaranteed a hearing.




The Purpose of Gods


We make gods out of need.

You can explain so much with gods

who won’t explain their ways to men

but merely show their power.


You can explain the earth

made by some crazy god

who threw his weight around.

It helps to keep our sort in line.

We placate gods so they won’t go berserk.


Who needs bolt-throwing gods?

Give us some gentle folk

who’ll teach us how to love

how to control ourselves

so that there won’t be cast-off lepers

rapists, and nuclear disasters.




Someone’s Creatures


The wise men and the scientists

grew great in their conceit.

They said, “We’ll cure disease.

We’ll conquer space.

We’ll grow vast quantities of food

so none can starve. We’ll check our offspring

so that every child will be a wanted child.

This world will be a wonder world

with all the universe to grow in.”


They said, “We have no need of God.

We can create our heaven without a God.”

With these words they killed God in their hearts.

Just to be sure they had no need of God

they briefly looked for God

and since they could not find God in their hearts

concluded, “God is dead.”

Then they proceeded to the business at hand.


They knew so much and were so very wise

the lesser people of the world looked on in wonder.

They learned to cure some cancers

but a strange thing happened.

A young girl they had agreed no one could cure

was cured by love.


They learned to fight disease

but another strange thing happened—

as soon as they would cure one virus

another group of wise men

would invent another virus twice as bad

and set it on a shelf to save for some day

when their hate was strong enough to use it.

Still they insisted, “We do love.

We wish that all the people

were as wise and fortunate as we.”


They proved their kind philosophy

by going out into the world

performing great conversions with their science.

They made elaborate weapons

and forced these in the hands of lesser men

and said, “You fight for truth and freedom.

Shoot to kill.

Who disagrees with us is better dead.”

Perhaps they were right.


Where is this better world

our heaven-reign home?


Godless we roam

through a scorched, burning world

love, all unknown.

Churches are burning.

Schools have been blown.

Birds have stopped singing.


Scientists, men of wisdom

take away your world built on men’s pride.

What have you left us but the passions of men?


We need God. We need love.

We need the gentle deed

the self-effacing hand.


We thought we were giants.

We thought that we could make the world perfect.

For this presumption forgive us.


Forgive us, Lord. We thought

that since we touched the moon

that we were gods.

We forgot that we were only

Someone’s creatures.






Yes, perhaps some people

find asylum here.

Some cannot find

asylum from their tortured minds

in all the earth.

For them

there is no resting place

no cure

no healer.


When death and hell

pour forth

at time’s own end

then, too

 will these receive release.


I beg you, God

my God who made

these stumbling feet

these flashing eyes

surely, you’ve made the love

to help and heal them.


The Womb of God


God’s womb is the universe

and what does God produce

in this vast cavity?


God produces God!


The earth provides the setting

from which the spirit in humanity

gives birth to love.




To Anyone In Authority


You, there

you in the chair

cut the matter clean.

Strip it bare.

Make it square

if you care.

Only you

can do.


Bow to you

because you have this power

for such a little hour?

I should bow?

Why and how?

You are  human

like me

and fallible.

You will see.


Tell them all

before they fall

on bended knee

that you are only man.

Then if you can

stir the matter




so only truth

rises in ferment

above the sediment.





Controlling Lions


Peace is not necessarily calm.

It is not a swan resting on blue waters.

Peace is a riot of color and movement

held in place by concerned love.


Sixteen geese at twilight swooping

cavorting in concert across the full moon,—

who is richer than I with such an expression

of God’s creativity? Suddenly I know

why the human was made—

we are the mirror that reflects

God’s wisdom back to Mystery.


Peace is creative action in community

such as this arc made with myriad wings

in the deep blue radiant sky.


Peace is not taking yourself too seriously.

Peace is the turmoil of the ocean

and the boisterous wind being used

by the human free will

to further the progress of a boat.


The lion will lie down with the lamb

when a creative human

controls wild nature

and another creative human calms

those who are fearful and trembling.




Omaha Beach


It was June when we came

a golden June

with the daisies dancing

and the birds in tune.

My little son

wished to see the crosses

not knowing the meaning

of sorrow and losses.


It was June when they came

a darksome June.

The night was black

and without a moon.

The noise was fearsome

when it came

with points of fire

and bursts of flame.


They clambered up

through ooze and mud.

From the hill to the beach

was red with blood.

Today there is

willow-oak and pine

and bowers

where roses intertwine.


I ask my heart

“Do they rest in bliss?

Will we ask other lads

to climb hills like this?”

Never  my son

on such a raid!

Never again

such a hell man-made!






Jeremiah 22:3


Yahweh speaks in the heart—

but loudly. God’s word

echoes across the heart’s chambers

like July fireworks

bam bam bamming back and forth

across the hills of celebration:

Do justice! Bam!

Do righteousness! Bam! Bam!

Deliver from the hand of the oppressor

the one who has been robbed.

The farmer in Peru

why should he farm another’s land

and give another profit?

The kameen in Pakistan

why should he haul the sewage

forever tote the refuse of some priest

whose insides are no cleaner than kameen’s?


The echoes roll across the world:—

Rulers, you must not wrong

the alien in the land.

Good God forbids all violence to the alien.


Those who are roused to boiling point

to throwing stones

talk with them softly.

Listen to their gripes.

Never respond to stones with stones.

Never shed innocent blood

in God’s Jerusalem.

Care tenderly for widows

and the fatherless.

God speaks loudly in the heart.

Those who have hearts

can hear God’s message.




Right Here


Let me go out and work for you in the world

God of Love

where lesser nations spew their sins

on blood washed shores.

The answer came back clear.

“This is the most evil spot in the world. Work here!”


Yes, you are right, God of Love.

This land is evil.

The blackened trees with their branches dry

reach beseeching, thirsting to the sky.

This country is the one to fear.

The answer came back loud and clear.

“This is the most evil spot in the world. Work here!”


Where, God of Love?

In my home, where we have named you ruler?

You find it not just that we should have much

while others starve for food and warmth and love.

Then send us out to spread our cheer.

The answer came back clear.

“This is the most evil spot in the world. Work here!”


Where, God of Love?

In my heart?

Yes, it is so. I have built up walls so I could not see

the evils seeping out of me

walls that could hide the wild strong will

and the lack of love and the loss of joy.

Help me rend the walls that blind my eyes.


Make me into a garden, Lord

where hearts may rest.





The Dove Waiting To Fly


What do you want

white dove, in your cage?

You have feed and drink

a clean perch

music to sing to.

What more do you want?


Freedom, you want?

What is that, white dove?


She waits there poised

with winnowing pinions spread

impatient to be off and out of sight

her jeweled eyes begging you

to aid her flight

oh, God, to bear her up

where star lights shed

dartles of dreams

above the cloud and storm.

All cast aside the cracked protective shell

eager she waits

ready to serve you well.

What blackness can be cut with that white form!


I think of doves who set out for the sun

only the sun, the moon

such near-by things

that I must fret for her

on egg-wet wings

dreaming of nebulae.

Our destiny

oh, God, is praising you

is reaching far.

Let her gain I beseech you

at least one little star.




Man’s Work


I like to watch men lifting boards

and heaving stone, and making things

rippling their muscles

in the sun of early day.


I like to watch men destroy

the old decaying structures

blasting in the sides of buildings

with great machines

unmasking centuries of rot

exposing the damp mold

to the face of the sun.


I like to watch men working

doing good with their hands

getting a little nearer to heaven.


In Nanking


a shoeless girl child wriggled onto

the velvet footstool before the white jade Buddha

and said a gentle prayer.

Did the Buddha’s enigmatic smile

increase ever so tenderly

as he reclined there on the edge of eternity?






Immortality Projects


We each need one good enemy

to keep us on our toes—

yet good enemies are few and far between.

Most enemies are bad, and scarcely worth

our being annoyed at them.

Comparing enemies, I’m lucky to have you.


Everyone needs death

to become a whole person.

Without death there would be

not much point to life.

Death makes us stand up

and use our assets.

He keeps us from getting complacent.


Dear enemy, as enemies go

you’re similar to death.

Your knives are never in the back.

You are disarmingly straightforward.

You operate without

benefit of antiseptics or anesthetics.




Opportunities to Love


That’s why Jesus said

to love our enemies—

he knew there would be

people like you.

He gives us

so many opportunities

to love one another.

That’s why God said

the world God made

is good.


Life is all about loving.

Love is the important quantity

that oozes from all this

air and dirt and water.

It really stirs

the molecules within

to love an enemy

who is cutting your heart out.


We humans have it made.

If we choose to love

all those who flashily inflict

their cruelties on us

we rid their ids of sores

by rubbing them on us;

we turn hate energy

to love—

a miracle!

We turn what’s bad to good!



every new today

is a fresh opportunity

to forgive those who have wronged us

and those who’ve hurt us.




Blessed Are The Poor


How blest in spirit, the oppressed!

Rich yearnings for what is Yahweh’s

burgeon within their treasure chest.

This wealth is manifest in eyes

catching ours in magazines, TV

gracing our souls with plattersful

of that which really matters.


The poor grow Jesus in the womb

of their tears, toils, and troubles.

They birth the righteous God

in the stable stall of rubble

where there are feeble few

of the foul foibles that distract

as in the palaces of kings.


How flourishing in spirit

those with peaceful seeings

nourished with I-Am Being.

Yahweh, wash us of worldly yearnings

that we, too, may feel support

from gentle, minute things

like hovering bluebird wings!






Jeremiah 22:13


Woe to him in wealth

who builds his house

by unrighteousness

and his upper rooms by injustice

who makes his neighbor

serve him for nothing

and does not give him his just wages.

If the debtor nations

refuse to pay foreign bank loans

God justifies them

if they have already

paid back the principal.

Wiley men contrived exorbitant interest

which God condemns.

All that is owed

in God’s eyes

is the principal.

All else is of men.

If those who had foreign debts

refused to pay

would the banks fail?

Would the banks pass on the unpaid debts

to those of us in wealth so that

we could no longer run our motor cars?

Then we might see

that our exports of militarism

have not benefited anyone

but only served to bind

and to lead to famine.

The end result may be

that our allowance of the sin of militarism

will fall on our own heads.

The wealthy will go hungry.

The collectors of exorbitant interest

will have no shelter from the rain.




The Three Times of Buddha


A molded golden poem

with three stanzas

flowing into one another

the great Buddhas

of Past, Present, Future

together sit in crafted majesty

on lotus leaves in Yong he Gong

willing artifacts, substantial things

which lead our minds beyond material.


The message of the Buddha on the left

is that the wise creative spirit

has been with the living world

before forever. It is not touchable

but yet the source of all we touch

of all our being, all we’ve done

the understander of our past mistakes.

The healer of present human errors

the helper in our everyday distress

are symbolized by the middle Buddha

raising up his hand to bless

the wisdom possible in our todays.

Love is a splendid spender

and love will spend for us

and shield us day by day.


The Buddha on the right reminds

those worshiping that future, too

will flash with Buddha Spirit

with they themselves the giving ones

whose duty is to permeate the world

with caring love and noble thought.


The wisdom found when meditating here

is much more valuable than many statues.





The Hatching


This brittle egg-shell case

that holds my soul

this shell

so carefully preserved by me

handled with care

polished, protected

when will it hatch the bird in me

with golden wings

that will go soaring off

my God knows where

leaving a broken shell?


Of what use to a bird

is a broken shell?






Reflecting God’s Word


If I were a house

on the hillside

the sunrise

would catch the glass

of my windows

with flaming gold

so that those

in the darkness of walls

in the depth of the valley

will gasp

at the glitter

of what they behold

at the marvelous

masterful mirroring

of the cascading caldron

of atoms

that boisterously

burns from of old.




Holocaust Syndrome


On the edge of hell

one loses perspective.

A people subjected to holocaust

may be temporarily blinded

as to proper treatment of others

because they are confronted

with the large hideousness

of what has happened

to themselves.


Thus the molested child

frequently becomes the rapist

when he grows older.

The horror in his mind

finds release in this fashion.


God, work through all of us

to help persons and nations

realize their tremendous worth

in your plan for the earth.


The Size of God


My God is bigger than this church.

God loves beyond the confines

of these doors. God acts and comforts

in all times and places, encompasses

the world, covers the stars

and all that is, yet still can fit

into a tiny corner of my heart!




St. Therese, Priest


She thought of herself as having many vocations, the priesthood included: “And at the same time I want to be a priest; how lovingly I’d carry you in my hands when you came down from heaven at my call; how lovingly I’d bestow you upon men’s souls.


I am a priest

ordained by God, not men.

I carry Jesus in my soul

so lovingly.

How can you

call me anything but priest?


A priest is one who gives

of God to people.

This I must do

and you must do it, too.

We must reveal God

to each other.


God hides in his transcendence

beyond our vision.

Only in those who walk beside us

facing after him

can we catch glimpses

of reflected light.


I am a priest to you

and you to me.

You carry Jesus in your soul

so lovingly

and with your open hands

so lovingly

give him to me.





Jonah and Others Such As Myself


My friend Jonah went to Ninevah.

He was a good prophet

but not a very loving man.

He could preach fire and brimstone

with the best of them.

“Turn and repent and love one another,”

he thundered.

They saw sense in his words.

They shook in their sandals

and obeyed.


The Lord said

“I will be merciful to them.”

(That’s the way the Lord is.)

Jonah didn’t approve.

He forgot all about loving and said

“How embarrassing for me, Lord

to say you will destroy this place

and then you don’t back me up.

Folks will say I’m a liar.”


God laughed as only God can laugh.

God said, “You’re no false prophet, Jonah.

Go to them in love.

Take my love to them.

Say that I have heard their prayers

and that I will be merciful.”

(That’s the way the Lord is.)




Paying My Way


Thank you, whoever made the earth and me.

I value dearly all that you have given.

I take with joy all gifts that you provide

but I insist that I must pay my way

to show my thanks. I’ll push myself

to do a kind deed every day to pay my way.


Today my achy bones give this long drive

starting before the dawn, to pay my way.

You have rewarded me with silver moon

sparkling the frosted February trees

etching the cat tails in a reedy gulley.

What possible return can pay for that?


Like this, the morning’s coursing moon

you go before me, colorful and blessing

the world that meets me and recedes. You rise

too, in the sunrise blossoming behind me

which reaches up its tolerant hands of light

to tousle tops of mountains still before me

where the moon settles to rest

comfortably on a pile of blue clouds.


How can I expect a heaven when life is done!

This is enough of joy and overcoming

a very fair exchange. Just let me say

how glad I am to pay my way.



The Creators


If we could create

we would want to create

creatures more perfect

than ourselves.

(Witness how we chide

and guide our children.)


As we learn

the problems of creation

we see that it must proceed

along certain natural lines.


We start with the problem

of how to get life in a test tube

(just like God did).


We rise up

through fishes and land monsters

(just like God did).


We finally

get a man-type creature

(just like God did).


And then we have to be patient

(just like God is)

until man fulfills himself

and learns

how to perfect himself.




The Idol Maker


I am what God created.

I must not take created things

to represent my God

as if I thought

I could carve out a God

from my surroundings when in reality

One Mystery has made all things

and authors all.

We can’t reverse the roles that way.


Official idol makers would like to think

they have control of God, of earth, of destiny

as their idol has sprung

from their work, their hands.

The powerful and rich, religious, firm

affirm, “God speaks through what I made!

I have designed a faith

a government, an economic system

through my power.

Those who would be on my side

on the side of power

worship with me!”


But God, you made us.

That’s the way it is.

You speak through what you made.

You speak through us.

Yes, Maker God, your voice

speaks through our voices

because you made us in your image

capable of love.


How can we reflect your love

and yet divorce ourselves from idols?




Rag Man in The Park


The dogs are friends with unknown dogs.

If he were dog, the dogs would rush

upon him wagging friendly tails

and mouth him with a friendly mouth.


Since he is man, he has no friend.


If he were dog, we’d throw him bread

and pat his shaggy rumpled head.


Since he is man and stiff with dirt

we leave him to his ragged thoughts.




What Is Man?


Lord, what is man?

It is time we should know

and no one here can tell us.


Are we strange devils

mutants on your globe

or have we evolved

with the evolving earth

to care for earth

and praise you?


It sometimes seems that we are rats

ready to run

the hawser onto land

knowing the ship we’re on

has rotted in its hull

helped by our constant gnawing.


If there were shore to run to

we would run

but we are far from safety of a harbor.








The three small monkeys sit upon the ledge.

Wee See-No-Evil does not see bombs fall

but does he feel himself slide near the edge

as the ground sends up vibrations that shake all?

Imp Hear-No-Evil does not hear the sighing

of the mothers and their young in pain and fears.

Even grown men across the world are crying.

Soon he’ll be floating on a flood of tears.

Wise Speak-No-Evil  has no word to say

but one can tell for what high thoughts he stands

like— “We here who can never go astray

defend the good and noble in all lands.”

How well and thoroughly each deceives himself!

How long before they tumble from the shelf?


All The Living


Though our throats are quite parched

it is true

we can sing and be glad.

Joyous words

come more loud

from the hearts

that have known being sad.





Mansion Thoughts for Everyday


The Buddha built himself a house

with widespread wings upon tall turrets

and flew to passive peace.


Christ urges active peace and busily

prepares for each a marvelous manse

depicting a delightful domain

reigned over by our God-Companion-Parent.


Christ cordially invited me to lay

wild weapons down, forget foul fears

and thus unburdened, follow on

to where God has a pleasant place

special for me

with golden scriptures graven on the walls

bright clarified by many a light filled pane

a gabled, crannied, fairy spot

where I can entertain

the oppressed poor

the hampered lame

broaden the view of the short sighted

a mansion fine

with brocade hangings

polished woods, pure porcelains

sweet seats beside fast dancing fountains

a structure quite superb

containing all I want to do and be

where pulsing Spirit penetrates the halls

a holy spot where wrongs are righted.


Who could turn such a palace down?

But we must help God crystallize God’s dreams!

We must assist each other to these places.

In such a manor we possess

both Christ’s and Buddha’s peace.






We Must Do

Glorious Deeds


Our deeds must sing Glory

to the parent God

apparent in all creation

and to the offspring of God

found among us human beings

and to the God blown spirit

that breaks into our daily living

from transcendent heights.


Surely, we can swing across great chasms

with such a triple braided rope of faith

for our support.


No Time  for Tears


For myself you need not sorrow

though I’ll see your face no more.

I have learned to view tomorrow

as a kind of opened door.

Passing through, I put behind me

what was pain in yesterday

and the future still will find me

with some trust for the new day.


For myself you need not sorrow

though I’ll see your face no more.

I have learned now how to borrow

love from life, and how to soar

up above both grief and madness

to a sphere of joy and rest.

Through a disbelief and sadness

I have learned my lesson best.





On Being Jesus


The message of God

has come down to us in two ways.

One way is

in the form of a human being.

A second way

is in a treasured book.


It is much easier to cry out

from the pages of a book

with the title of God’s word

attached to you

than it is to stand

in a Jerusalem temple corridor

or on a street corner in Chicago

beseeching the troubled

to love each other.

It is simpler

to donate Bibles

than to mouth God’s word

in a city prison full of druggies

where no one has faith

in healing hands or hearts.


May God’s word

God’s message

be in every woman and man.

May it find its way

into every crevice and corner.




Early Fisherman


He stood in the boat and rowed

old and stooped.

His arms moved slowly on

and his gray head drooped.

He saw us not

looking out at him

on his morning way

but toiling over his oars he sent

sun to our day.

His wet oar shone like a silver flash

to our beach-side view.

His wet oar mirrored the morning sun

and he never knew.




For Faith Growth


Heaven-weaver, Earth-hurler

flush us with victories

flash us with star power

gash us with godly joy

like yours!


We don’t want to be lap dogs




feeble barks of fright

into unholy night.


Let us grow


as a deep rooted tree

by the living water

shooting out green tips

in God-time

till we touch heaven

and become

rain fashioners

sun hoisters

man makers

truly God-birthers.






Thou shalt not kill”—

the hordes went forth to war

and those who took the sword

have perished by it.

There was not one stone left

upon another in the Holy City.


“To him who smites you

turn the other cheek.”

Those who preached

grew hot with their religion

and Holy Wars were started

and the Holy City

remained in unholy hands.


“Love your neighbor.”

We are neighbors, one and all

on this small globe

and so we choose to disobey.

We devise new ways

to destroy peoples and nations

and kindreds and tongues

and the world.







The Dwarf



I see you as condemned to life

life different from mine

from all of us.


How do you see yourself?

Do you weep at evening?

In the morning do you grit your teeth

combing your hair before the mirror

condemned to life

unequal, pitied?


But I have seen you laughing

singing, making others laugh.

Is this the burden you have taken

upon your stubby shoulders?

Did God whisper to you

that we are all unequal

all short changed, all weak

all full of problems that we cannot solve?

Is this the reason you can joke

and why you try to make us smile?

Christ has fondly let you climb up on his knee

and is using you for his mouth piece.





There is something out there

that can be in here

if I will open myself

and let it in.

I can be more than me.

I can be charged with Majesty.

Oh, Profundity, enter!

My welcome mat is out.




My God


I have a God who loves me hard and fast

with rhyme and reason

across the bridge of race and creed and caste

and time and season.


I have a God, a Universal God

a First Great Cause

who holds me not with sweets or lifted rod

or threatening clause


but with her love for that which she gave birth

by her own plan;

whose spirit fills the emptiness of earth

and mind of man;


the God of Brahmin, Arab, Indian prayer

Catholic and Jew

the God whom all who seek, will find is there

I have. Have you?



To Cardinals Who Act Too Seriously


If I were cardinal

I would not wear a long red cape

that swished and swashed

as I went striding by.

I cannot picture Jesus swishing cape.


I would not let the lowly kiss my ring

or bless benignly with superior grace.

There are no lowly lower than myself.


I have no better blessing to impart

no grave position, honor, to uphold

but only friendship with equality.




The Viewing


I stood on the vast plain

and watched them die

the old, the toddling child

the cursing warrior, the sweet faced girl.


I cried aloud in fright

in horror at the agony.

My guts melted. My legs froze.

Who made all these to live

only to have them die?

What cruel fiend

made me to watch this hell?


Hell stood there loud yet voiceless

but answer came

back through the red-black night

to reassure my reason—

“Who can wisely choose

between heaven and hell

who has not seen them both?”


The Size of Man


I tried to convince the important monsignor

that to visit those in prison was a Christian act

but he did not want to hear.

“At least,” I pleaded

let me talk to the parishioners.

Let them make up their own minds

on this humanitarian subject

as responsible individuals.”


“No,” he said firmly ,“we care for our own folk.

That is enough to do.

What have those evil prisoners to do with us?”



Bias and Basketball


Quiet, he stood for a moment, with a cat’s cunning

quiet, the Colossus of Rhodes towering, frightening.

Then he reached out his long rippling arm

and sent the moon spinning.

His sudden run was leaping lightning.

The moon was by his hand again

 small next to that giant hand

and then its golden orb was flashing

straight at the sun. Others stood back in awe

small next to that giant.


There stood the Colossus.

They made him to be that great one

Apollo, young, beardless.

He slew the wild python with sunbeams.

He was a man wiser than others

son of Jupiter, gifted, player of the lyre

averter of evil, bringer of help

punisher of crimes

with cubits of muscle

rippling in sunlight and sea wash.

He stood there seemingly flawless

unbelievably real

ready to love life

and ready to be loved by life.


A flabby brown slug crawled listlessly

by his glistening heel. Being small,

it could see the weak spot. It chortled—

“He is black

so the white world is forbidden him.”


The Colossus heard the small voice

and shook violently.

The quake sent him sprawling down

into the curling Aegean.





An Exclamation


To serve you, God, God of the jostling throng

God of the just and right, God of the wrong

God of a million worlds that push and press

through time and space that think not

of you as they whirl and race

across the star-hung void

God of a wealthy church

that hoards its gold

that lives in splendor

as its heart grows cold

as nations starve

as man treats



as love is


to serve you

if I could

I would.

To serve











The Armor of Faith


He gave up faith for charity last night

in a warm fire-lit room.

I watched him wondering.

It was a wise move.


His faith was made of steel bands

more to protect

than draw to God.


His faith would never step aside

for love

until last night.

His faith would never question

never dare

a “who” or “why.”

It was afraid of answers.


Faith like that is merely a convenience

a little wall we build around our minds

to protect them from life’s wild winds.


But I have grave concern for him.

He may not be quite strong enough

to meet the world unarmed.

He will be very small and scared

in the dark night

without his armor.




To The Galilean


I do not know the way you traveled

through the dim woods.

I do not know the path

but only know that where you passed

the grass grows more softly

and the trees stand more proudly.


I do not know the way you traveled

but I follow

feeling, if not seeing

the greatness of you

as I go searching

ever hastening

but never catching up.


Always there is only nothing

but this strange feeling

of being on your path

for if I do not follow

where you seem to lead

the leaves rustle too boisterously

and the little green plants seem to grow

without any aim of being beautiful.


So I shall ever follow

tripping over stones that moved for you

and catching on rough tree branches

that bowed themselves out of your way.

I can never hope to be as you

but someday, perhaps

I shall catch up with you

in a golden meadow

and there I shall find out why I followed

for I shall know what the sun looks like

when the trees do not hold it from view.





The Dream of The Messiah


When I dreamt alone

it was only a dream.


When I brought you into my dream

it became reality.


Now all these people

are dreaming my dream with me

so it becomes truth.



The Cripple


Stretch forth your hand,” he said.

I stretched it forth.

I wrenched it from its crooked grip

against my side.

feeling it creaking from disuse

seeing its spastic twitches

from the corner of my eye

as I watched his face.


“Surely he’ll wince to see this mangled limb,”

I thought. But, no

there was no horror in his glance

like other folk cast constantly my way.


“Now use that arm to aid your fellow man,”

he gave command.

I hardly heard him for the joy

that surged all through me

like crashing cymbals.






To sense the Lord!

Oh, there is joy!

To early rise

and seek God’s face

to find God

in the temple place

to fill me

with abounding grace—

yes, that is joy

to meet the hidden God.

Thank God

you spoke the word

that sent me there

to search and seek.





The Mediterranean is azure blue

a waveless, ripple sea

yet how deceptive!


Somehow it’s like

our Christianity.

We think it loving calm

a pure placidity.

But with the sea

so suddenly

the waves rise up

and hurl the beach stones far across

the Highway of The Palms at Nice.


Then we know this is no cozy scene

this azure earth spinning in space!


True Christian thought requires

our hurling justice at oppressors.




Man Should Love God


God sits weeping in a corner


under the weight of the creation.

Depression haunts God.

“I have made this miracle of stars and moons

and possibilities of love.

Who cares?

Who sees it all as something more

than hapless atoms thrown together?

Who understands

the purpose of it all?”


Belief lies only in the human mind.

Christ understood God’s love.

He saw the immaterial, the spiritual

the river flow of energy

accompanying the mud and stone of earth

the workings of the process God.


Clearly Christ calls—

“Come from your corner, Abba God!

I’ll do your will. I am your way!”


Christ, be in us

that we may comfort God.


On Education


What grows in mud

hard baked by sunny sky?

Who learns

when minds that teach

are stiff and dry?







Sun-gold God-man brimful of truth

swing walk across

the flowering meadow

and love gaze

the crippled boy

till he ups and dances after.


Blood-red man brimful of body agony

battling for broken breath

through bleeding lips

why has your father

left you

lonely for him?






Every morning we awaken to a new day

a change in weather, wind, or wave

within our outer world

the same sun apparently rising

but shining on different circumstances.


We must also recognize changes within.

After each night of rest or restlessness

we rise to a new self.

The variations may be subtle

but we are always different, always new

always renewed. With what awe

should we respond to these new days, new selves.


What tremendous awe should waken

in our collective heart

when we realize that the past is done

that all humanity, whether lion or lamb

has a new day with new opportunities.



God and The Individual


It was night when you said

“Seek my face.”

I heard you, God, with all my being

and I said, “Your face, God, I will seek.”

The moon splashes gold on the night.

The sun nourishes the day.


Day or night, where shall I seek?

Shall I seek in amongst the people?

How can all these people

be known by you, oh, God

house after house of people, town after town

that the moon splashes gold on by night

that the sun nourishes by day?


How can you know all these people, oh, God

all these millions of them

when I cannot even remember

the faces of those who live on my street?

How can I seek you in all these people?

I am drowning in people.


How can I measure you by myself

when you have made the universe

and I have done all things imperfectly?

Still I must ask, “How can you know us?”

But I know that you know me

(preposterous impertinence)

as the moon splashes gold across the night.


How can I know you?

How can a feeble human know total strength?

How can one discover her maker

in this noisy place called life

where the sun nourishes the loud day

and the moon crashes across the busy night?




Fog-bound Night


Through the pea soup fog that shuts me in

I hear echoes of voices

silenced in Selma and San Salvador

in Baghdad and Kurdistan

in Sudan and South Africa.


Feeling my way in the damp darkness

my groping hands bump rotting flesh.

My mouth hanging open in the thick air

tastes dregs of truth from the cup

of humanity’s springtime dreams.


Intermittently a lightning flash

reveals the panoramic landscape

where trees are lesser Christs

reaching up mutilated boughs

to beseech heaven’s torrents.


Compassionate prayer

can transform night to morning

where bright trysting birds

proclaim in burgeoning trees.



In The Fire

What energy, what warmth

is released from the wood

when the licking flames

consume it!


What love, what spiritual force

is released from our bodies

when the fire of God’s love

takes us in death!





Catering by Women


We women often cater to the men

because we’ve been subdued

for generations.

We accept patriarchalism

due to our low self esteem.


One example is women accepting

that authoritative methods of operation

are preferable

when kindness and gentleness

are vastly superior in God’s eyes

to domination.


Often we find women

who think they must be domineering

to be successful.

They jealously copy the traits

of their oppressors.


Both the oppressed and the oppressors

must be gentle with each other.

We are such fragile carriers

of life and love.



Come to Me

You Heavy-laden

Just to brood

on our cares

like a hawk

hovering high o’er the plain

will not bring

a release from our sins

or a surcease of pain.




Return to The City


After twenty years we found it

a deserted city with abandoned tenements

the fine old brownstones

crumbling, blackened, bruised


the windows all barred up

if there were windows left at all

the burned out hulks

the stores with iron gates

no longer selling merchandise.

We found a fortress town

with garbage-ridden streets

a playground all enfenced

yet, children playing there, fenced in.

Near-by, a school with all its windows shackled

to protect it from the street.

Emblazoned like a banner bright

across the front door of the school

reads the design

“The truth shall make you free.”


I tell myself that even Berlin walls

can be transformed







The Things I Knew


I knew. I knew.

The things I knew

were terribly real and terribly true.

They lived with me through busy days

and proved themselves in countless ways.


I thought them through long nights of care

when death was near and fear was there.

“Be true, we must!

Be kind, we must, for God is love

but God is just

and death’s a friend who visits all.

We must be ready for his call.”


But then one day I chanced to go

to a gathering I did not know

and found their thought

was not my thought

and they did not seek

the words I brought.

They lived in joy

and showed no fear.

The things I knew, they would not hear.

Gently they smiled like it didn’t matter

and my wisdom was just foolish patter.

Their audacity caught my breath.

They would not even speak

of death.

For them to seem so sure at heart

could they, perhaps be right, in part?

They had no fear of God’s being just

but I had lost my childlike trust.




“They Shall Not Worship Me On Any Mount

But In The Temple of Their Hearts”


You said, “Clean up my church!”

and we said, “Yes.”

We took our dust cloths, vacuums

scouring powders

we took our willing hands

and eager hearts

and went straight to the task.


The dust was easy.


The gravel underfoot

was obvious

but where to stop?

Should we tear down this cornice

on the altar

that crumbles all to shreds

and varnish up the blemish?


What’s necessary, here

to worship you

our God?




The Shy Christian


I have a pocket

in a velvet shirt.

I keep God there.

If I’m with friends

who will not laugh at me

I bring God out for air.




We Are God’s Delight


Why did God make the world?

Would God do the unnecessary?

We must somehow be important

to the scheme of the creator God.


God is love. To exist as love

does God need someone to love

someone who can turn to God

or who can spurn God?


Forced love is not love

but a cruel exercise of power.

Love compelled from need

is a self-serving thing.


True love frees those it loves.

Both God and we must be free

to leave and to destroy

or to turn delightedly

to what we love.


Knowing this our God

has made us free

created us in joy.

He does not tie us down

with abstinences and negations.





Society Condemns The Convicted


You confined to prison, crawling worm—

you know you are a worm.

You know your place

is in a tunnel in the ground

eating dirt.


Someday we will let you out—

what then, worm?


You must not expect

sunshine and fresh air;

that is for ants.


Perhaps if you wither up and die

we ants can gain a bit of sustenance

from your carcass.


We’d better keep you in your tunnel, worm.

We ants need someone

to look down upon.




Saving The Oppressors


The spiders wove a web of lies

and sat there waiting for a prize.

A thud, a tug, a cheer— Hi Ho!

They’d caught a fancy fly named Joe.

They felt him over carefully—

he was so big a guy—

was he some sort of spider type

or just another fly?

He tight-rope-walked along their strands.

He bowed quite low and shook their hands.

The question raged along the web

“Is he a spider or a fly?

Should we poison him

or let him go?”


Joe said, “This whole web is a lie

so the truth is— 

I am not a fly.”


Those of you who are in the know

had better place your dough on Joe.

I think they’re going to let him go.


It takes a charismatic guy

who understands the spider’s needs

to counteract the spider’s deeds

and liberate the oppressed fly

to save oppressors from themselves.





The Moses Men


The young men are like Moses.

They murder the oppressors of their people.

Then they flee into the desert

but do they have mountain top visions?


There is a blue robed Medjugorje virgin

on top of every mountain

smiling on us, loving us

if we would only see her.


The young men in the desert

have no faith in virgins.

They barter trivialities of the moment

selling their souls for ecstasies that perish

murdering each other

forgetting the way to the holy land.




Souls  and Poems


You prefer souls to poems

you, who are infinite soul

and infinite song.

You would rather find my feet

wandering a thorny path

in search of silly sheep

who fled imagined wrath

than find me plucking on my harp

on some warm hill in the sun

praising your wonders.





Why Have You Forsaken Me?


Your very cry, Messiah

implies you knew God once

that you and God

walked hand in hand

through vistas of aching hearts

and broken bodies

dispensing love together

from the fullness of your comradeship.


I do not know

why God forsook you.

I only know

I envy you

your walk with God.


To be Messiah

to be totally filled

with the message of God’s love

requires that one be totally empty

of one’s self.


Only when one is totally empty

can God completely fill him.



Poetry Is Frozen Music


Poetry is talking to God

something like prayer

like opening a window

to get a breath of air.




In Me!


To be!

To have God everywhere

within my being!

To have only God’s words

burning my lips

like coals of fire!

To dream only God’s dreams

through nights of prayer!

To desire only

what God wants me to desire!

To be full, infinitely full

of God’s great goodness

so that love pours out of me

like some vast sea!

To be!

To live, joy, aspire, pray

to be consumed by loving!

To be like Christ!

For this you have created me!


Frightened, I ask

if I am equal to the task.



Our Offering to God


We bring you this water in wooden buckets

pure, clear, dripping from the spring

but to hold this life-giving water

wooden seams must be saturated.

They must be permeated

with the crystal clear liquid

so that the seams swell out

and form a seal.

The buckets must be soaked

in living water

to hold up effectively.






I believe in God—

(God, help me to believe!

Some days there is no time

to think of God

to do good deeds

to rest in God

or even time to grieve.)


God as Almighty Comrade—

(You have placed us here.

Some crowded days

I cannot question why

or think of infinite love

but  move only in haste and fear.)


Maker of the heavens—

(Today I cannot even think

if heaven is.

The world shuts in

on every side.

Oh, what can heaven be

and where?)


And Maker of the earth—

(Yes, earth is here.

That statement I can get a grip on.

Shall I believe in you, my God

because you made an earth?

Some days the earth is all I know

but someone must have made it.)







You have created me!

You have called me by name

and I am yours.



You have made my soul

like a sparkling diamond

and I must not hide it!



You have made us all

to give you glory.

We will praise your name!



You have made us to know ecstasy.

You have made us

that you might dwell in us!



Need and Greed


The prosperous American

entrenches himself in his castle

armed with security systems

tied to police stations.


Why is he so fearful?

Does his innermost mind suspicion

that it is unfair for him

to have so much

(that he doesn’t have time

to utilize effectively)

when others are denied

food, housing, and respect?





The Price We Pay for Order


When Abraham gave his tithe of battle

to peaceful Melchizedek

was it an attempt to justify

the strife arising in his soul

from his taking of another’s goods

and ending of another’s life?

Surely he could have saved his nephew Lot

in a less violent manner.


When Melchizedek received the tithe

from Abraham so graciously

was this righteous, peaceful ruler

accepting for all future generations

of those who gather tithes from the imperfect

a measure of their greed and bloodletting?


Abraham involved the just

in his revengeful act.

The lion needs the lamb

to dwell in order.




The Price We Pay for Freedom of Religion

When Constantine gave freedom

of religious worship to his empire

the gentle and oppressed

trusted his motives

and gave their unsuspecting support

to an un-Christian social system.


The lion often needs the lamb

to maintain power.




Squandering Induced by Social Systems


We have wasted so many centuries

when we could have been loving

arguing about things like whether to use

‘debts’ or ‘trespasses’ in the Lord’s prayer

when Jesus never said either ‘debts’ or ‘trespasses’

as he spoke Aramaic.


We have killed women with warts on their noses

for being witches instead of empathizing

 with their pain at ugliness.

Jesus would have advised

that only those with no imperfection

could throw stones on other souls.


We have confined the angry, violent insane

to solitary or disruptive prisons

instead of giving them counselors or friends.

Jesus was willing to listen to and console

those full of devils of his day.


We have self-importantly theologized

about the words just war, instead of seeing

small Iraqi children dying in the arms

of those who would have protected them.

Jesus invited children to the home of his heart.


How we have wasted opportunities

down through the centuries! We have discarded

pyramidal heaps of human souls

creations that God made and loved

creations so discouraged from our treatment

that they could not even love themselves.

When St. Therese saw souls drifting to hell

she was seeing all the souls that social systems

have ignored and thus given over to depression.




Listen! God Is Speaking!


Through whom does God speak?

In Egypt before the pyramids were built

oracles spoke through cracks in temple walls

giving godly advice to the troubled.

Sometimes these voices were from women.

The loving goddess Isis might sound rough

or domineering using the voice of a man.


In Greece the Oracle at Delphi

was a wise woman

who could look into hearts

and see their longings for the future.


In Jerusalem before the time of Abraham,

both priests and priestesses were servants

 of the local gods. The famed Melchizedek

may have been either man or woman.


Today, what change has come about

that men are thought to be

the mouthpiece for the worshipped God?

Has God changed

or have human beings changed?

Because Jesus said, “I am the way,”

are we never to listen to a woman?




We Are All Called

to raise the world

to heaven.




I Heard God Call

I answered out of my comfy bed

“Where are you, God?” and God said

“I am out on the cold night plains

with the bare sky wheeling overhead.”


I cuddled down in my warm cocoon.

“Where should I go? What should I do?

Must I leave my nice, warm room?

Answer me, God!” God said, “Be true!”


I crawled from out of my cozy spot

to seek the truth in the chilly night.

“Send me love to keep me warm.

Be present, or I’ll die of fright!”


I march, I march on the cold night plains

seeking our God out where God said

with others stumbling along the path

and the bare sky wheeling overhead.


I march, I march, and I try so hard

to sing and serve and be unafraid

to be true to the One who called me out

to love all those God made.


But it’s cruel out on the cold night plains

with the bare sky wheeling overhead.

I long to dream in my cozy room

but, “Be true!” is what God said.





Fear has driven us close together

fear that there won’t be enough to eat

fear that the stars will crash at our feet

fear that there won’t be a world to greet

when we rise up one of these mornings.


As we come nearer to one another

we find that we like each other’s faces

that we can enjoy different creeds and races.

We are close enough to help and smile

to share a load for a weary mile.


Then love takes over and binds us closer

Soothing the fears in each tumultuous breast.

Hate from color, sex, creed will come to rest

For the God of surprises has saved us the best--

this time when we all can work together.




The Need for Community

God doesn’t want

one of us

to know everything

because then

we would be


We need each other

to be





The Healer

The crowd cries, “Heal me!”

and God hears their cries.

he sees them suffer

and he knows they hurt

but first they need to pray

to rid themselves

of what’s within them

that is hurting others.


When they forgive

then their debts

are forgiven.


When they cause no one wounds

their own are healed.


Jail Bird

Fishkill prison stands on a hill

and there is no hunting allowed

so the birds throng there.

The small pond is filled with ducks.

The pheasants strut on the road

confident as chickens in a hen house.

Small birds flutter about the cell windows.


One day a lost parakeet flew

between the bars into Joe’s room

and stayed there like Joe was St. Francis.

Joe loved him and named him

and was his friend and provider.


Everyone needs someone to love

even God.




Pool of Glory

There is a plunging

of the cleansing dew from heaven.

It is raining rites and rubrics

hailing, healing

pouring penitence

deluging down

with offerings from swords of sacrifice

with symbols which can sanctify

the whole sweet earth.


Just look around.

Behold the rainbow halos glinting

glancing their many colored lightings

from heads of saints and sinners!

See, here is Jesus

there is Buddha

temples in the hearts of people

temples also found in places

earth made holy by the tread of people

spots made pure with precious tears

with years of inner-outer healings.


See the deluge

raining, plunging, pouring

all into a pool of love, oh Ancient One

all into your pool of love!




Believing in Reality

Is it reality

that loving spirits lean

tenderly over us

that Jesus lives

in spite of death

that God is love

that evil comes from

man refusing God?


Do we believe intangibles

hold us in cozy arms

like nursing mothers

cuddle babes?

Can we accept

that God sends angels

to protect us

sends us joys and trials

to fulfill us?




Reflect Like Water

Reflect like water

blue where it reflects the sky

sunshine from the sun.


Reflect like water

green where it reflects the trees.

Absorb the darkness.


Reflect like water

gray where it reflects the clouds.

Conceal the evil.


May I make sunshine

for others to reflect

and hide my sorrows.





To Choose Not to Fear

Infinite Mind, I am afraid

and I am programmed

to knot up my stomach

and make fists of my hands.


Help me to lift my hands

in prayer and praise.


Creator God

I thank you for creating me

to know this futile fear

for it can teach me

what lies beyond.


Without darkness

how could I know the light?


If I choose not to fear

then I learn trust.


The road that turns away from hate

leads to love.




How Is It So?

We, weak and cringing

scurrying, comic, we

a part of that great Spirit

that great One

who master-minded

all the universe!


How is it so?





Rape of The Moon

Time was when the moon was a riddle

a goddess benign, yet unfathomed.

We have trampled her virgin hills.

We have eavesdropped

on her secrets.


And what of you, Alpha-Omega

great Spirit of Life who upholds us

Beginning of all beginnings

will we violate your sanctuary?




The leaves blow up together at the touch

of November wind molded by it into

some small whirling wheeling cyclone shape.


The migrating birds chatter together

on dogwood trees with red berries.

Then all rise together from the breath

of some energy which we do not understand.


Us, too, poor humans, busy

at our small tasks

move in concert

reacting en masse to the furor

of a riot or a revolutionary.

What wind stirs us?




What God Is

I cannot know what God is.

As soon as I know what God is

as soon as I possess God

then he is no longer God

but something I have dreamed up.

If he is something I have made up

if he is a creation of mine

then he is an idol

and I may offend the true God

by worshipping what I have made up

(unless the incomprehensible God

is not so easily offended).



The Land Is Filled With Wisdom

Isaiah 11.9

Must I always be questing?

Can’t I ever know?

Doubting, searching, arguing

must I ever be so?


How can I be so petty

when God lives in you and me

and fills us overflowing

as the waters swell the sea!