Archive for the ‘poem’ Category


 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.


A Word in the silence

Light in the darkness

One single ember scatters a blaze — millions of sparks,

Each a sun, a planet — glowing into light-years of space.

A Word births galaxies, spins orbits, sets morning stars singing,

Light giving life.


Somewhere a small blue-green ball sees its first sunrise.

Time as He counts it — all times are now — streams by,

shimmering light and encroaching dark


a Star slips to earth,

shines from the misty eyes of a newborn.

Stars spin, galaxies dance,

the Light flashes to the corners of our soul-darkness.


Eons, moments, till the Light extinguishes the darkness

with a Word cried from a cross,

splits the borders of death with Light

deafens the silence with the Word.


Planets spiral, stars rise and set,

Light blasts through clinging blue-green shadows

with the voice of the Angel,

the trumpet-Word of God.

Morning rays of a million nebulae flash

A forever-day, never night again.


The Word made flesh, God from the beginning;

before stars dawned in Orion’s belt,

before the singing of planets,

before any shadow fell,

before we — less than sparks

in the eons-long conflagration of space —

before we saw the Light of His glory,

God, first, last, and forever,



For the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.


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somewhere in a darkened room

probably on the floor

or worse a hard bed

two hundred and


schoolgirls are waiting

to die

to live

to be rescued

somewhere they are crying and praying

and two hundred and

eighty-four mothers

sleep every night

if they can

with lost voices in their heads

some time they may never see again


and somewhere in the Midwest

a third-grade girl is lying dark

in a hospital bed


glass shards from a drive-by

and waiting

to see

to heal

somewhere in her head is a cry

and we pray

somewhere her mother

sleeps every night

if she can

with the picture in her head

of a girl with two eyes

some time she may never see again


and somewhere there is another girl

and another

victims of bullying




and where do the next mothers come from

if we can’t

bring back our girls?

some we may never see again


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the sun is still shining

and birds, no doubt, are singing


the general population is going through their day

following a plan

running errands and


somewhere, too, children giggle

and lovers

whisper sweet nothings

others fight

and someone, somewhere, is perfectly happy

maybe with coffee and a good book


that is there

in that other universe

called reality


in my world

i watch the machines

cringe at the beeps

strain to hear a whispered word

try to see familiar features

lost in a face of sickness and


in this world

(it is small)

everything revolves around the numbers on the screen

the inputs and outputs

that tell everything and

not enough


in my world today

the hiss of oxygen is turned off

and the machines


and the heart beats slow

the numbers fall

and my world





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the school bunny

white bunny

at first you jumped at sudden noises

rattles and bangs

kicking and running futilely forced into a small space

then you learned to know us

our different voices

the scents on our hands

grew used to the vacuum’s roar

and (finally) the abrupt thump of the big trashcan

we learned you too

your moods

the “don’t touch me”

and the “what’s happening out there?”

we dared to pet you

you let us feed you the grass from your bed

we learned you liked dried fruit but

NOT carrots

we tried different times to hold you

and you became accustomed to our arms

till one day we let you run

while we cleaned

and for a few weeks it was a habit to

give you your freedom for an hour or two

and only check to see you weren’t

chewing too much paper

so I have to say I’m glad I wasn’t the one this morning

coming down the hall and realizing the huddle in your box

was too still

and that the quick flick of ears wouldn’t

interrupt the rounded softness



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wrap them in peace and shroud them in snow

let pine boughs and windsong whisper of rest

blinding tears freeze on twenty small mounds

so leave them in quiet in a black silent night


grief is the darkness fallen at Christmas

our season of joy is heartsick and pain

where is the light of Bethlehem’s star?

where is the song of the angels this night?


wrap Him in cloths and lay Him in hay

angels and shepherds whisper of glory

Light of all heaven to shine in our darkness

death touched the Child on that silent night


darkness and grief have fallen at Christmas

a Babe took our sorrows and carries our hearts

a cross is the light shining into our darkness

we cling to His peace for our dark, silent night


for the children, teachers, and parents of Sandy Hook Elementary

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pearl harbor

for a while

i imagine

the memories were sharp with the smell of gunpowder

and blood

freighted with

screams or shouts and billowing black smoke

startled leap from paradise to hell

the anger



every year they were silent on that day

wearing black

or flags

or little yellow ribbons

anyone alive then remembers

the day that will live in infamy


twelve years later

after peace was struck

the planes and ships all came home

with their soldiers and sailors and pilots

all safe

my mom was born

and she doesn’t remember it

in that visceral way

sure there was a moment of silence in school

and they all learned about it in their history books


it was one of those facts

to remember for the


no sense of horror

no infamy-provoking reactions


so then there was me

born in the bountiful and coddled 80’s

that crazy decade

so rich

so safe

we were king of the world

and even the Iron Curtain fell

so everything was great

till 9/11 crashed in

(seventy years after — a lifetime)

another day to live in infamy

smoke and shouts

screams and the startled leap

down into death

breaking glass and crumbling steel

the smell of fear

as we were once again





but twelve years are passing

and the schoolkids were babies on that day

no visceral reaction

no memories of pain and panic

only a question on a test

something the teacher goes on about

and those politicians give for a reason to keep the war going

for years and


until we all forget why

and time heals all wounds

until next time

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we’ve passed the threshold now

my passport has been updated

we’ve done the ten-year anniversary

the Islamophobia’s died down

and bin Laden’s dead as well

I can listen to the second movement of Schumann’s

piano concerto and not hear

screeching metal and crumbling masonry

all the paper has been recycled

and a memorial has been built

people have had more children

or gotten remarried

and each September brings more thoughts of

apples, pumpkins, leaves, and

golden days

than flags, blood, smoke, and tears

but I will still wear black today

and my neighbor will put his flag at half-mast

I will play Barber’s Agnus Dei at quarter to nine

and my students will not understand why

but we who are old enough will pray and remember

because they are never gone

until we forget



In memory of Francisco Bourdier and the other 2,995 victims of 9-11, in conjunction with Project 2,996.

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