Copyright  © 2000 by Cora E. Cypser.



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 00 093128

ISBN: 1-892063-05-Printed in U.S.A.

Published by KIM PATHWAYS



Pieces of Yesterday contains poems that connect our

yesterdays to our tomorrows.





Dedicated to all those who have

garnered wisdom from their yesterdays.









The King’s Troubadour   1

Like The Ostrich   2

All Things From Emptiness   3

Eve 4

The Fallen Ideal   5

Humility, Not Futility   5

The Mustard Seed   6

St. Jean, Cap Ferrat   7

The Adolescent   8

Feeling Immortal   8

Equality   9

Revelation As Gift   10

Song for Strength of Spirit   11

Today –   12

The Vision   13

Gift of The Trees   14

Time   15

Trauma   15

Autumn Is   16

For James   17

An Attempt to Visit Mao’s Tomb   18

An African on The French Riviera   19

To Those Who Fret Not   20

Accent on The Positive   20

The Foundling   21

Ripples   22

God’s Dwelling Place   23

Catechism Class   24

Jays On A Rainy Day   25

Jays and Sun   25

The Child and The Flowers   26

Near Galilee   27

The Loom of The Spinning Sisters   28

Animal Talk   29

Leisure Time   30

Voice of Spring   31

Legion   32

Will Power   34

The Return   35

The Blue Gown   36

Little Ones   36

Mediterranean   37

Boston   38

Subway Music   39

Nantucket   39

Dealing with Frost   40

Wheels on Water   40

The Transformer   41

Generation Gap   42

The Self-Sufficient   43

Black Holes   44

Authority   44

God Has A Sense of Humor   45

Composer Creator   45

Blueness   46

Art Work   47

Sing for December   48

Would You Want to Go Back?   49

Jesus as Sacrament   50

Reality   50

Tracks on The Beach   51

Between The Shore and The Sea   52

The Empty Plastic   53

Lonely Heart   54

Argument on Birds   55

Something from Nothing   56

Death as A Miracle   57

Resurrection   57

Youth and Age   58

Consolation in Solitude   59

On Pain   60

On Joy   61

Loving as A Replacement to Threatening   62

The Pyrite Pleuroceras   63





The King’s Troubadour


When I was a child, I thought as a child

and my thoughts were lilting and proud and wild

and I wanted to sing for the Great King

because it seemed to be a good thing

and my name might be known.


But now I am grown!

And I want to sing for the King

because he is kind

and his pain is so plain on his face

and his hands ask a song

and his truth and his right

shine across the black night

and show up the world’s wrong.


And I must walk singing

upon the wide earth

with steps firm and fleet

for to my surprise

when I knelt to be blessed

as the King’s troubadour

I found near my eyes

two blood-covered feet.






Like The Ostrich


We hide our hopes;

we hide our fears;

let no one see into our hearts

for years and years;

ignore all those who cross our path.

We do not show

our anger or our care.

We hide our true self deep inside

not letting ego out or others in.


We hide the sad side, bad side.

We hide the weak side, meek side;

let no one know our dreams

our aims, our plans, or our despair.

The mind is full of tumbling thought

but it won’t think like it ought

unless we bring it out

for sunshine and fresh air.


The ostrich mind hides in the sand

and shaking feathers face the land.




All Things From Emptiness


God caused them to be made

the fish in the sea from nothing

the ducks that paddle through the water

the swimming otter from nothing

the cat bird singing, laughing, imitating, from nothing

and all things that have their being on earth

these, too, from nothing

the giraffe, the sky scraper, the electronic brain

and the human, the wonder of the human being

from nothing, and the small, small things

that we can’t see with an unaided eye

the atom, the x-ray from nothing.

God made them all from nothing.


Phoenician Commercial Vessel







Eve is a keeper of things.

Eve keeps broken toy cars, headless dolls

chipped china, un-stuffed animals.


Because their spirits cry out to her–

“Please don’t reject me!”

“Overlook my imperfections!”

“Save me from nothingness!”

Eve is a folder of laundry

giving tender care to shrunken T-shirts

frowsy pajamas, permanent press blouses.


To keep her sanity

to keep a place for everything

and everything in its place.


Eve is a sorter of socks

matching this sock with that.


Socks must pair up like souls

like husbands and wives

like friends on journeys.

Two by two, we enter Paradise together.


Socks, shirts, un-stuffed animals

the Creator must smile on Eve

for taking such care of this creation.





The Fallen Ideal


The prince lies dead in his palace on the hill.

We who have walked beside him on the road

we who have fought beside him on the field

we who have drunk and eaten at his table

we feel the emptiness; we feel the chill.

We are too sad to repossess his  load

To carry on, it seems we are unable.


Will he forgive the words we should have sealed?

Forgive the weeds we sowed among the wheat?

Forgive our running off when evil bode?

Can we commit ourselves to imitate

his great humility, his burning zeal?

Are we so lost we can’t forgive ourselves?

Does God forgive us when we are not able?




Humility, Not Futility


What God has given to us

we are called to share in humility.


What the world presents to us

we are not to eye with futility.


For all problems, praise God

and ask for wisdom to care.


For all blessings, praise God

and ask for opportunities to share.





The Mustard Seed


Faith is knowing there is an ocean,

because you have seen a brook.  W.A. Ward


We see the bud, and hope to see the flower.

We know the acorn makes a mighty tree.

We watch the second grow into the hour

and know the hour becomes eternity.


We leap the brook and know there is a river

and that the river flows into the sea

and when a kind word chances to come hither

I know the loving God has thought of me.


Assyrian Galley




St. Jean, Cap Ferrat


There an iron Mary stands

holding the little king

that he may see the fishing fleets

the shining sea, the church

the graveyard, and the cock.


Monstrous the statue looms

around the corner of the road

the powerful Mary and all-powerful son

the babe-in-arms

surveying the small piece of world

known as St. Jean’s.


I think the babe might like the cock the best.

Small children’s eyes

don’t wander quite so far as sea and mount.

They grasp the near-by sight, the thing at hand

the graveyard and the cock.


I think some artist of an earlier year

just might have made the cock

in order to adorn his grave

hoping to have the babe’s eyes

watching over him.


He might have thought–

“When Jesus looks at this fine iron bird

this Peter’s cock, how pleased he’ll be.

Perhaps he’ll even think of me.”


Such I assume when I don’t really know!

Humor us, Jesus, for the times

we claimed we understood another’s mind.




The Adolescent


I will grab the sun and prevent its setting

for I am young and strong;

I shall hold the sun in my right hand

and the earth shall reel drunk-mad about me.


I shall snatch the rays of the sun

and twist them to a crown for the wild world.

Then I shall give a merry young laugh

for it is ludicrous that this world should be crowned.


I shall pull the golden clouds from the horizon

and give them to this drunk earth for a pillow

and it is ludicrous. So I shall laugh

for I am young and strong.




Feeling Immortal


She stands there poised for flight

on the brink of youth

saying, “Take me to the stars!

I must have stars to make me happy.”


She stands there poised for flight

scarcely thinking of those who went before.

She asks for the sun

like it was of no consequence

She is gracious, but demanding.


She stands on the brink of youth

quiet and eager.

She must have dreams to dream

and to make come true.






Only when we treat others with equity

will we be able to live peacefully.

If we insist on superior rights

or gather more property

we will find ourselves living in fear.


When people gather together in fear

they will find an enemy to fight.

This will not relieve their agony

but will cause devastation.


When those who are afraid

resolve to understand the opposition

they will find commonalities

which lead to friendship.


Nothing but harm comes

from insisting on one's specialness.

Chosen? Elected? God made us all.

Thus, we are all the special ones.


We must see ourselves in each other.

When all of us see God's workmanship

 in the faces of those around us

then God will dwell with all of us.




Revelation As Gift


God gives gifts of God’s own self

to each of us.

We can find God’s Spirit easily

in stars, in sunsets, and in flowing rivers.

We find the Spirit, too

in the garbage dumps of God’s creation

if we search diligently.


We can find God in words.

The scriptures speak to us

of different kinds of God

an angry God, a punishing God

a God of Love.

We chose our God idea.

We live out our God idea.


We can find God in people.

God is in mother love

in treasured friendships

but God also is revealed

in broken hearts, in wronged relationships

in the twisted and dysfunctional.

God’s process blossoms best

in forgiveness

dredged out of anger and despair.




Song for Strength of Spirit


Give me strength for the day, Yahweh

to walk my road

to carry my load.

Give me light for the day, Yahweh

that I may see.

Please stay by me.


And while I’m asking

will you give me wisdom?

Will you give me knowledge?

Will you give me peace?


And while I’m asking

will you make me kinder?

Will you make me braver?

When I waver

will you urge me on?


Give me strength for the day, Yahweh.

Egyptian Barque





Today –


we are in the presence of God.

We are immersed in an ocean of spirit.



we were in God’s presence

when we argued

for the less kind position

the one that would make

more money for the wealthy

and take bread

from the children’s mouths.

We were in God’s presence

when we cheered

at the bombing of another.

We were in God’s presence

when we threw our left over lunch

out the car window.


Tomorrow, too

we will be in God’s presence.

Let us prepare ourselves

to rest in God’s presence

for God loves

to be present

to us.







The Vision


My neighbor had a stream

running through his property.

He had a vision of a willow-lined pond

with water lilies

and a brood of ducklings

treading water behind their mother.


He dredged a hollow in the earth

removed great stones

built him a wall around the hole

dammed up the end

let the spring rains

fill the cavity under the trees

and sent a mental invitation to the water fowl.


Two ducks responded to this gift of pond

mallards with shining green upon their heads

a friendly pair, but not productive.


Must a man forego his dream

because his ducks appear homosexual?






Gift of The Trees


The oak and willow kept us warm that winter

blaze after blaze of spitting, crackling wood.


The oak had dropped his leaves in early summer

prey to some insects’ sorry appetites

giving us sign we should be using him

for heat instead of shade that year.


The willow we cut down because his limbs

lashed violently against our wires.

He was a youngster who had grown too tall.

We felt remorse, but had no other choice.


So both trees kept us warm. We felt their friendship

radiating to us, glad that they could be of use.



Early Greek Sailing Vessel








Time is one of the dimensions of love

our chance to send out feelers towards divinity.

Time is one way we make a connection to God.


From past time, we develop faith.

From present time, we learn to love.

We look to the future, and show the quality of hope.


We accept God’s present time as God’s statement to us.

In our allotted time we learn the world is sacrament

the holy material through which souls acquire being

and are enabled to think beyond that being

to what is beyond our being.


Only by touching the here and now

can we conceive of the Totally Other.

By touching the garment of the messenger Christ

we come in contact with Totally Other.

If we ourselves were Totally Other

we would not be able to reach towards God.






What bird will sing

dragging a broken wing?


Autumn Is


when God comes walking across the grass

encouraging the living and the dying.

God murmurs to the oak tree–

“Be your most glorious;

turn red and shout ‘Glory to God!’

You must work well for me while you are able.”


God talks to the maple.

God speaks to the dogwood and to the alder

and God commands the willows and the birches.

Of course, some obey better than others

and some are designed to obey better than others.

God summons the whole autumn world.

They answer Gloria

And Adoremus.


Winter is

when all appears dead

and seems not to hear God’s voice.

But when the snow comes, Beloved

we must not forget the spring.

Remember that God said

“I will renew all things.”

We must not forget the spring.





For James


This child will love the birds

though he’s no Francis.

But see how they cavort

here by the window sill

where his crib is.


This child will make great music

though he is no John

chanting the word across

the darkness of the world

but he shall have love in his heart

to spread abroad.


He shall be baptized James

a strong man, burning with zeal

working and singing

that others may cherish

God in their hearts.


See that hawk soaring

up above the treetops?

He shall soar

that the hearts of all

may follow him in his flight.




An Attempt to Visit Mao’s Tomb


We drove under flags to Tian An Men Square

where the red star shines and flags wave.

Can it be they wave for us

first a line of red

then a line of multicolor–

miles of flags.

The police believe the flags rise and fall breezily

for an important visitor

but we sense something different.

The breast of China

rises and falls in joyous breath

for us, the common people

and for the thoughts that common people bring

to share with thoughts that other commoners think.

Caring people bring more

to other caring people

than leaders sharing power with other leaders.

Premiers do not care for thoughts of commoners.


Surely, we would have visited the tomb

of Premier Mao

but the line was much too long.

We could not pay respect to history

but we felt surging history

in the de colores flags

and in the community

that is alive in China.

The flags spoke to us

curled bravely for us.




An African on The French Riviera


The black man from Africa

walks like a king.

His face reveals nothing

but that he is wise.

He walks placing his feet silently

like he had learned

to walk silently in the jungle.


His back is straight.

He is tall and his head is up.

His face looks strange to me.

His nose is too flat and wide.

His eyes are too Egyptian.


But he looks

like he had thought of God

and time and eternity

in the jungle silences.


Hannibal, too, proudly walked the Riviera

with his elephants.



Roman Vessel





To Those Who Fret Not

Fret not - you are of more value than many sparrows. Matt.10:31


Are we of much more value, then

than sparrows?

Wherein does value lie?

In praising you, oh God

or in our inner make-up?

Is it that we have more

spirit-energy than birds?

But, if so, do we use it?

It seems we do not praise you

half as much as sparrows

though we have louder voices.



Accent on The Positive


Moses talked on the mount

to a fearsome God and heard

“You shall not–”


Love looked on a father’s face

and the word was shall.


Moses heard

“You shall not

hurt or harm or wrong–”


The Word spoke out

“You are fulfilled in love.”






The Foundling


Humankind, guided by instinct, copulated

and brought forth

an idea of the creator

as loving and forgiving.


Many did not see how their society

could possibly accept

mercy and suffering

with abusive power


so left this birthed thought bloodstained

with her own placenta

naked on the hillside

as customary with things female.


But a human, Ezekiel, came upon it

discarded through social custom as worthless.

The human Ezekiel, cleaned it, nurtured it.


The human Ezekiel with God’s help

brought this seemingly worthless thought

to maturation.


Our kindlier instincts, brewed by God

are more dependable than custom

and do not deceive us.








Fisherman blue jeaned

red shirted comfortable

commander of a slight gray rowboat

on the Wappingers

with ripples outrunning–


your reflection, sir

is ripples outrunning.


And I myself

how do I reflect to you?

We never know what reflections

we are sending to each other.


God give us the grace

to reflect God’s love

God’s life.  


Norman Vessel, IXth Century






God’s Dwelling Place


The whole world is God’s church

a holy place

the holiest of holies

and we must worship Being

every day in every way

with holy hands and helping hearts.


Whichever sex we are

a man, a woman

the holy God supports

our living and our breathing.


Each breath we draw in

that is holy breath.

Each hand we take

within our hand

each hand is holy.


The whole world is God’s church.

We cannot thrust

this holiness of Being

from us.




Catechism Class


He rose from the dead, the wise men said.

What would you do, Little Boy Blue,

if the whole wild story turned out to be true?


Terrible enough to see a man die

under a wild and threatening sky

with gore pouring out and expiring sigh,

terrible enough that he died for you,

through your own fault, too, if you take as true

what we’re telling you, Little Boy Blue.


How can you know if your sin hurts him

if that’s God on the cross who made us living

and hung the stars and etched the earth

and the moon and Mars, and is always giving?

Little Boy Blue, they say your sin poked the sharp nails in.

Is it true? It is sad to think that a lad like you

could hurt a man or hurt a God. Do you think you can?

But suppose it’s true, Little Boy Blue? What will you do?


And suppose it’s true that like they said

he came back smiling from the dead

and’s forgiven you, Little Boy Blue?


Suppose some morning without warning

he comes like lightening from the sky? How frightening!

Will you and I hide from his eyes, Boy Blue?

Then would we die?


Little Boy Blue looked me straight in the face.

“If it’s like you said, it’s a disgrace.

I‘ll kill the world. I‘ll kill it dead!”



Jays On A Rainy Day


The jays sound the same – on a rainy day – anywhere

but I am gladder to hear them here than – anywhere

and the iris bloom in the same way – here

as they do – anywhere

but I’m gladder for my iris than for iris – anywhere

but I will go

wherever you want me to go – Yahweh Spirit – anywhere

even though there are no iris and no jays – anywhere.




Jays and Sun


Blue sky and warm sun and green woods

and here comes a flash of blue wings

and the call of a jay.

From high past a tree that points proud

to the sky, he comes and he sings

saluting the day

and saluting his lady and love.

“Come, my love, with the wings of blue.

Come quickly, most fair!

I have found us a crumb,” he calls.

“Come, Love, and I’ll share it with you.

Come quickly and share!”


He waits while the blue of her wings

settles down to the brown of the ground

to partake of the prize.

Then at once she is dashing away.

Next, his turn. Then triumphant with sound

pursuing, he flies.



The Child and The Flowers


She stood among the flowers

with her long corn silk hair

in its fat braids

wreathing her lovely face

where the small tight curls

escaped the stern brush.


All I could say was, “Vas es dat?”

and she told me their names

gravely, politely

until we came to zinnea

and we were both so pleased

that zinnea was the same

in her tongue as in mine.


Not far from her garden was the church

and there, too, blossomed flowers

on the dark slabs of the dead.

How the living remembered

those who had gone before!

Such a riotous cemetery!


And there under great stones lay quietly these others

who had once had fat blonde braids

and stood in gardens talking gravely

those whose hands had stroked a zinnea.




Near Galilee


Many sunrises in the past

by the sea of Galilee

a man spoke out

that God was love and love was God

and both of them dwelt within him.

Because of this

some said these three

love, God, and man

formed Holy Trinity.


Today nearby that selfsame sea

the friends and foes of such a man

the children of his loving God

debate land rights and fight with might

inciting hatred, causing fear.


Yet this same God, the power of love, the willing friend

still wants to dwell in each of them.


XIIIth Century Sailing Vessel


The Loom of The Spinning Sisters


What is the meaning of this design

embroidered on this endless tapestry

of burning reds and flashing oranges

and jet blacks?


What means this material stuff

cascading in a flush of stars

from the mind of its creator?


What is the sensuous sense

behind the jumble of colors on the loom?

What the force of thought

that made the frayings

and the ravelings on the floor

lying there like a crushed rainbow

flung down in play by a thoughtless child.

Pick me a meaning, an inuendo.


The meaning may be

that we have evolved here to see

this wonderful tapestry

and to marvel at it

and to marvel at its maker

and to marvel

at the way

we are related to its maker.





Animal Talk


Soft noises from beyond my window

slowly nudged me from my slumber.

Was it a turkey gobbling a gentle warning to its young?

Rising and looking out

I saw a deer urging a fawn to hurry.

The fawn obeyed, moving ahead

turning her head from side to side

trying to see the reason for the urging

following her mentor

the expression on her face wondering

“What is the thing that I should fear

that I might know which way to run?”

Never before have I heard deer communicate.


Language and the understanding of it

who can interpret? What are they saying?

The cat purrs out comfort and peace.

The moose lowing in the woods

calling another moose

the chattering of monkeys

evolves beside the human’s calls and yodels.


The ancestors spoke

and we can sense the meaning of their sounds.

When I am startled by a mouse

my EEK is heard quite far away.

More formal words are harder to interpret.

What do the people say?

Are their noises

kind noises,–  warning noises,–  cruel noises?





Leisure Time


There are moments in our lives

when we can reach out to serve others.

What we do with our leisure time

is very important to the plan of our whole life

and to the existence of our Mother Earth.




XIVth Century Sailing Vessel






Voice of Spring


Listen to me. I am Spring!

I am the voice of love and life.

I am apple blossoms.

I am red maples.

I am greening woods.

Harken to me, and hush your laughing lips.

Be quiet, you smiling girls.

Be quiet, you merry old men.

Be quiet, you young men

with the warm blood racing through you.

Be still for I have a message.

I am Spring.


I am come to tell you of empires fled

and new ones made.

I am come to tell you of dead religions

and a living God.

I am come to tell you of broken hearts

that were healed.

Listen to me.

I am Spring.


I am Spring.

I am fluffy white clouds in a blue sky.

I am a sudden downpour.

I am violets.

I am come to tell you of broken hearts

that were healed.

I am Spring.






I dwell in the tombs beside the sea

and I dwell in the mountains beside the shore.

Wildly I range my dwellings free

and no man bothers me anymore.

They know they cannot temper me.


They used to bind me up in chain

and like some dog upon the ground

I’d roll and break with little pain

the links with which they had me bound

so now they do not fetter me.


I cut myself with stones and cry

wailing my pain from hill to shore

trying, yet too afraid, to die

and no one bothers me anymore.

They know they cannot comfort me.


Why, look, now, downward by the shore!

It seems a boat is beaching there!

But no boats land here anymore!

I can’t see well for the lake’s glare

but I’ll warn them not to come near me.


I’ll grab my chains and wave them wild.

Shout, till it echoes through the graves.

Then they shall see I am no mild

and kindly man who gently raves.

Then they shall quickly go from me.


But what is this? A man advances.

It seems a step, a face I know.

Yes, look, he’s giving friendly glances.

I saw him once quite long ago.

But why’s he here to talk with me?


Why come you here to be with me?

Tis not your time upon this sod.

I would roam here beside the sea.

You are the Holy One of God!

Oh, leave me in my misery.


Have you come here to censure me?

Your time has not yet come.

Who are these men you bring with thee?

They cannot chain me, no, not one.

They cannot fetter me!


Oh, leave me, I am full of devils.

They call me “Legion” for their horde.

They change me with their terrible revels.

I am not worth your mercy, Lord.

You should not treat with me.


But if you will; I see you will–

see yonder that large herd of swine

standing on the rocky hill.

Cast there my hurt by power of thine.

Then leave and do not bother me.


Now sudden like a crash of thunder

I feel a new life full on me.

Look, there the herd of swine asunder

have hurled themselves into the sea.

Oh, Lord, that you should notice me!



Will Power


What is will power? Can it be

but the concentration of particles of thought

upon an object?


Now if we admit that every molecule has with-in–

a radiation, an attraction, a polarity

then it is easier to admit

that brain thoughts generate radiations

by their interactions.

We can measure some brain waves.

Others we have no means to measure.

These waves doubtless have their frequencies

like radio waves.

Thus we can talk glibly

about being on the same wave length as someone

when we agree with him

or say, “We got the message,”

when our thoughts coincide with his thoughts.


Take these waves, these radiations, these with-ins

and concentrate them.

You use an energy to concentrate.

Can they be expanded, contracted?

It seems so.

They are a force

and lesser forces fall before their impact.


Organize your forces

and you can move mountains.






The Return


What joy in the return of a friend!

Creep softly, moon, across the heavens.

Blow softly, winds, those gray-black clouds

that scud along and almost veil the moon.

Guide my friend to my heart’s home.


Guide my friend through rain

through thunderstorm and turbulence

to sit by me, so we can watch you, night, together

as moon and clouds move onward softly.

What joy to remember a friend!

Always the friend comes back into the heart

and leaves only with the promise of returning.

Friends do not leave us desolate.

There is always the joy of remembrance.



Portuguese Carack XVth Century





The Blue Gown


Munching emerald green

the silk worms spun white gloss

doing their own good thing

a task God made them for.


Lithe golden fingers

strong from bowls of sun brown rice

the weavers wove the thread

doing their work for God’s glory.


Mary, you heard God’s word.

You let great God fill up your heart.

You deserve a gown spun of God’s wisdom

fashioned by God’s skill, colored like heaven.

So they made the gown for you.

They dyed it blue.





Little Ones


We are all God’s little ones.

We gather at the feet of majesty

beseeching a blessing.


Crying out our hearts we gather

at the feet of tenderness and mercy

binding our hearts together

striving to build a world

cemented with love.







Who colors the sea

with the dark and the light

when the wind blows hard

and the foam blows white

so that part is the sea blue of day

and part, the deep blue of night?


Who colors the sea

in pale clear green

when the sky is gray

and the sun’s not seen

and out where the sky

meets the sea, it’s ultra-marine?


How did it all begin

this blue of the sea

more blue than the sky

when the wind’s not free?

God has made it for you.

God has made it for me.





Let me grow fond of your soot-black alleys, city of Boston.

Let me love your dirty curved streets

and your pigeon infested buildings.

Let me learn to look beyond your squalor

to the choppy ocean stretching beside you.

Let me remember you for gray wharves

and blue ships and white gulls.

Let the smoky haze be an incidental.


Let me grow fond of your quaint alleys, city of Boston.

Let me love your twisting streets

and rows of yellow brick

and red brick and gray brick

and stone apartments.

Let me find beauty in you, city of Boston

that I may be happy here.



Naval Vessel XVIth Century





Subway Music


There is music in the subway

as it rushes, as it rattles

as it sways through the tunnels

in the loud deep dark.

There is rhythm in the subways.

There is rhythm in the people

as they sway, as they stagger

as they lurch in the cars.

There is song in the subways.

There is wild night rhythm.

There is loud track music

in the tunnels in the dark.






Nantucket was a kite to him

with high sand dunes

and a wind that raced

to the sea.

Nantucket was gray fog

gray waves

gray rain

gray dunes

gray joy

to me.




Dealing with Frost


Many people have had to deal with frost

with the glitter of frozen droplets

across a green field

with the knowledge

that this meant the end of growth

the coming of wilt and blackness.


Jesus dealt with it.

Térèse thought gentle thoughts

about the frost in Lisieux

the wasting of summer’s abundance

the signal for harvest.


Can we think as gently

of age that stiffens our limbs?




Wheels on Water


Rain in Beijing

and bare legs

pumping bicycle pedals

from underneath umbrellas

and raincoats

and plastic bags

and even some

out in the rain

with no protection

slim, rice-fed

lithe, energetic.




The Transformer

Marty takes old chairs

that are dingy, ugly, broken

and transforms them

into works of art–

some scraping, sanding


a bit of stain or paint

a lot of polish

upholstery that is just right.

He has the artist’s eye

that makes complete

the final product.


Marty’s job concerns

are criminal justice.

He plans probational practices

dreams of alternatives

to warehousing a broken people.


May Marty be as successful

with dingy, ugly prison practices

as he is with antique chairs!




Generation Gap


I’d spend the whole starred night singing to

the dream stirring guitars on the summer beach

until the police came to chase us home

if I were young again.


I’d wear jeans jazzed up with patches

embroidered in purple with peace symbols.

I’d bike barefoot in the rain

and hike rather than use a car

if I were young again.


I’d wear owl eye-glasses, and no make-up

except wild, way-out eye shadow

with my hair in disarray as nature found it

like my daughter does today.


Why do I so criticize the things in her, then

that I, too, would do if now were way back when?




The Self-Sufficient


When I found no music

I made music of my own.

The human soul is like that–

inventive when alone.


When there was no poetry

I wrote my own verse

and made it to my liking–

lyrical and terse.


When there was none to love me

and fondly speak my name

I hid my hurt heart bravely

and, thank God, you came.


XVIIth Century Sailing Vessel





Black Holes


Some scientists believe

that particles of light

bent back upon themselves

can magnify light’s speed.

If light can leap

at twice the speed of light

the spots light leaves behind

appear as swirling holes of darkness

which we fear

as sailors fear

the whirlpools in the sea

as humans fear

the spiral that appears

as lack of love

and call it sin

shuddering and shunning

those afflicted with such malady

when healing and forgiveness

would serve life better.





Some people use God as a club

with which to strike others.

They fail to see

we are all sisters and brothers.



God Has A Sense of Humor


God laughs

a big belly laugh.

She laughs

when she sees

what strange ideas

we hold of her.

She laughs when she sees

what strange ways

we seek to please her.


She laughs

a big belly laugh

and then

a gentle loving laugh.




Composer Creator


God, if I should dedicate a sonnet

I should make it up to you as Master Poet

for you have sung the earth up as we know it

and put us here as grace notes on your music.







I did not realize

until the film was developed

how blue is Ecuador!

The peacock displaying feathers–

how blue!

The sea bird with bright blue feet!

Then the sea

proclaiming blue to all directions

and our jackets

sparkling blue;

the green of leaves

waving blue shadows;

and my daughter’s eyes

blue with emotion.

How blue is Ecuador!


XVIIIth Century Frigate





Art Work


What is Michael, the red head, doing?

He’s gone to the state university

where the ivy curls on the brick walls.

He has grown a beard

and his hair is up-ended and frizzy

so that his face is like a sun

in a small child’s drawing.

College has become a place of freedom

for him, or would you say a place

where he is no longer free

but must do as his peers.

He came from the Catholic high school

where the white cement Virgin stood guard

smiling her approval of the school yard

and the world. The black children

walked by on their way to public school.

There they eased their frustrations

chalking dirty words on the walls

and cursed the cement Virgin

because they were not rich

or Catholic or well-educated

and felt unwelcome at her school.

Michael knew it was wrong for them to spread grafiti

but the white Virgin did not go on to the university.

Now Michael, the red head, colors chalk flowers

on the red brick walls in amongst the ivy.







Sing for December



for it is a warm day in December

and the wind moves gently

for it is thinking of rain.

It is thinking

“I will rain once more

a gentle, soft rain

before I turn cold and blow

and spit snow from my mouth.”

Ah, sing, for it is December

and it is warm

and it will soon be cold.


Sing of how the season changes

and soon the snow comes

making us forget what it was like to be warm

and to have gentle rains;

making us feel only the stinging cold of the snow

and the slippery ice underfoot.


Sing of a warm December day

whispering that soon it will rain.


Sing, too, for the cold of December.

Sing the cold wind, for often the cold wind blows

and the clouds fly gaily across the top of the sky

while the sun winks in and out behind them.

Sing high noon with the clouds zipping.

Sing high noon on a cold windy day.




Would You Want to Go Back?

If I could go back?

If I had to go back?

Who wants to go back?

What is wrong with today?


I am one who must go forward

ever forward

in the rain or wind or sun

to some goal I cannot see.


Who talks of going back?

Back to the old dreams?

They are all bruised



Back to protecting arms?

I know now how they needed protection.

Back to the spring

that murmured on the hillside

knowing how they have plowed it under

and backed it up into a swamp.




Jesus as Sacrament


Do cartwheels

on the fertile ground

of our souls

like a big, round host

rolling across

a green field

past bubbling brooks

of blood-remembering wine.






Jesus smiles, “Let me lead you.

I have seen the great scene. I understand.”


Jesus sighs, “It seems like contradiction

feeling the unreal, but take my hand.”


Jesus lilts, “It’s out of love I show you

that this stage is but a preparation

for another land.”




Tracks on The Beach


Sea birds with webbed feet

and a man


walked here this morning

on the sand


and he frightened off the birds

as day began.


As the sea turned silver

with new light


he set the large web-footed ones

to flight


and did it give him sadness

or delight?


XIXth Century Vessel




Between The Shore and The Sea


Between the water and the sand

is the spot where I stand

with Dan

for he’s not quite two

because the water is so wet

and the sand is so dry

and to mix them both together

is so much fun to do.


On the sopping wet sand

is the spot where I am

with Dan

for he’s some over one

for the water is so nifty

and the sand is so sifty

that to mix them both together

is such a lot of fun.


Between the shore and the sea

between the spirit and the flesh

is our place

all the days of our years.

Using life’s great abundance

we join grace and tumult.

We learn how to mix

smiles and tears.


The Empty Plastic


A transparent plastic bag

filled with a high of air

danced its way across the airport runway

escaping from purposes and previous duties

prancing first on one pointed corner


then pirouetting upside down

filled with the unseen wind

that billowed it with visible joy

flapping it to frisky freedom


all in one positive direction

until at last it sagged

caught up against a waste can

(how appropriate)


giving several feeble billows

like an airport wind-sock

then wrapping itself

securely on its captor.




Lonely Heart


I shall watch for you, Lonely Heart

until the stars come out

and then I shall part the long strands of star gleams

looking for your face.


I shall wait for you, Lonely Heart

until the evening train sends its mournful note

across the fields.

Then I shall rise and look for you.


I shall wait until the world whispers, “Night is here.”

Then I shall throw my cloak of love about me

and go in the dark

and seek you

to the uttermost reaches of your loneliness

and when I find you

I shall lead you gently to the Universe Companion

who is all consolation.



XIXth Century Chebec




Argument on Birds


The oriole is a braggart

and a loud mouth.

He makes his wife do all the work.


Jim says “no.”

He wants to think the best of him.

“The whole world needs a song.

We must have singers to cheer on the workers.

His wife knows him best.

She doesn’t seem to mind.”


The sparrow is a pest.

He’s in the way

always living off other people.


Jim says “no.”

He likes to think the best of folk.

“He is a cozy little thing

who just wants love.

God must love sparrows so.

He made so many of them

and he knows when each one falls.”


Surely the hawk

could have been omitted

in God’s plan for salvation.


Jim says “no.”

We need those who soar

who pull their strength

from others and the earth.

At some point in our span

all of us need help from others.


Something from Nothing


In order to make a universe out of nothing

Great Force would have to wrench the nothing into two

so that its parts could resolve back into nothing

for nothing will be nothing.


To make that first small atom

Great Force would have to pull the nothing into two

make two parts that would re-unite to nothing.

Great Force would have to will these parts

an infinite distance from each other

so that they would not re-unite.

Then when they were safe apart

Great Force could make one universe here

and its negative universe THERE

an infinite distance away.


Our universe tumbles through space

at a vast speed.

Where are we going so fast?

Are we trying to catch our negative universe

in order to re-unite and be nothing

or are we still hurtling away from it

infinitude by infinitude

from the initial impetus Great Force willed

to that initial atom?


If Great Force created a universe and its negative

at infinite distances from each other

surely Great Force could create

an infinite number of universes

at infinite distances from each other.




Death as A Miracle


It may seem that

God is choosey with her miracles

unless you count your whole self

as a miracle–

the product of a careful evolution.

Then you can see

that there are crowds of miracles

upon the earth.

Then, too, you might just count

the whole earth as a miracle.

The stars in heaven shout of miracle.

Thus you might well believe

that God is prodigious with miracles

both those of life and those of death

for death, too, is a miracle

that we have yet to comprehend.






We have faith

that Spirit can arise within.

We know not where It’s from.


This Spirit being born in us

can rise from death.

We know not where It goes.





Youth and Age


The world may seem quite evil

but it has a heart of gold.

Youth expects things to be joyful

but turns bitter growing old.


“The woods are full of boogies”

the old man said.

“The streets are lined with ruffians.

You are better off dead.”


The sweet young girl knew better

and tossed her curling hair.

She found nights full of starlight

and thought earth very fair.


“Grandpa, cease to mutter

about such foolish fears.

Dead is too long a time

too many wasted years.


We must gather diamonds

while the bright lights play

and put jewels on the necklace

of each and every day.”






Consolation in Solitude


Who goes there? Who goes there?

Is it just sunlight walking through the leaves

or is some angel stepping down a hazy stair

brushing her gown against the trees?


Can it be some wee thought sped

on wings of mind from one most dear

that brings a warming here in my retreat

like some sweet comrade hovering near?


A moment hence I sat

all solitary on my stone

but now, quite suddenly, I know

my soul is not alone.


Fishing Boat




On Pain


What is this pain I am holding so close to me?

It is to me as the sun is to a June sky;

it shines all through my whole being

like the sun illumes the whole day–

great big swollen hurty thing.


But now it is lessening and quieting.

It is to me as a single star to a June night.

It no longer throbs through me.

It is there as a gentle pain–

a little catchy pain.





On Joy


I lie on silken sheets and wait

until the cup flows and runs over

with the silver droplets clinking and splintering

down the cool outsides of their container

clattering when they reach the table

like miniature horses with sharp hooves.


I relax and let this cascade of joy

run off across the polished table surface

with its overflow of love

to what may lie beyond my vision

the table legs, the rug, the rough-hewn floor.

The whole room is saturated with joy.



Racing Yacht






as A Replacement to Threatening


The TV treats wars as if they were normal

when, in fact, wars show our world

to be very, very sick.

When swaggering and power and threats

turn into guns and tanks and bombs

it’s time to ask if threats are wise practice.


What do psychologists have to say

about threats and name calling?

Aren’t they the surest roads to violence?


The way to peace is

to transform enemies into friends.


We are asked to love our enemies

to bless those who curse us

to pray for those who despitefully use us.


Love is a very difficult goal to achieve

but that is why we were created–

to achieve love.




The Pyrite Pleuroceras


On viewing a pyrite-filled ammonite shell 185 million years old

(Lower Jurassic, Germany)

in the Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, 1977.


A shell strewn on the beach would be enough

to make me marvel after you, my God.

How many years are needed for your hand

to form an ocean-echoing nautilus?

That takes but a mere finger-snap of time

compared to this fine fairy shell

fashioned in filigree of foolish gold

and set in polished rock.

How many ages churned their tumultuous way

as you turned its delicate frailty

from bone to stone

made bold in gold its sinuous curvature?








Sir Francis Drake


Francis, the Pirate, re-robbed

the robbers of the Inca gold

and re-stole the silver others pilfered

from the mountains of Bolivia

to please Queen Bess of England.


Today cities filled with wealth

are the heirs of this design

to influence a sovereign.

Our nation takes its cue

from a queen’s greed

a captain’s lust for power.


Where are they now?

Who are the royalty today?

Who sails the wheeling ship

laden with wealth?

The gold, the silver, resources

pried from the indigenous

re-appear in our pursuit

of stocks and bonds.

Our greed continues on

consumes us all.