to poet the word (“in a year of drought”)

to stay clear the shrub,

to risk not the fire,

to hold fast the salt-plain,

to pray out the flood.


to hew down the hillside,

to un-see the vision,

to forego the silence,

to un-witness word.


to hunker the moment,

to profit a tyrant,

to loyal a dynast,

to return the dream.


to lower from round-top,

to tree by the water,

to root deep in giving,

to drink in the word.



Jeremiah 17:5-8




from not home

“How long, O Lord?” 

– Psalm 13

“from not home”

lost upon a wave of earth,
metal glinting poured out sun,

red stick marking boundary
where the leaving cry beyond.

moss that twined us once as kin,
now denying, roots undone.

shade to cool us, gather in,
edges slipping far from home.

we are not the way you give,
under cypress knee and gone,

breath of life returning you,
spirit praying send us God.


“Baton Rouge” > French “red stick”,
for an early marker on the Mississippi River.



earth took of earth

earth takes of earth
but stone, this stone,
blood welling from it,
pulsing the ground
star took of night,
but God, these stars,
light shedding from them,
life flowing down
earthe took of earthe
enough in woe,
calling of earth
awaken us now.

The Lord said, ‘What have you done? 
Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground.’

– Genesis 4:10, Revised English Bible


(the Middle English poem “earthe toc of earthe” dates from around the year 1000.)




I reach to send a poem her way,
who issues prayer like fledgling seed,

and pause on heaven’s shadow with
the one on sisters southerning,

who has herself reached up as far
as Spanish moss to blue hills can,

men-folk kicking dirt with boots,
while beads of condensate dew down,

ice cube stirred (not shaken) slow,
garden, spring hawk spiraling,

eyrie holding watchful eye,
loft to pattern opening.



(after “The Garden, Spring, The Hawk,”
Ellen Bryant Voigt, Shadow of Heaven.)



fire comes



fire comes
(we pretend not to know)

winds shift
(we pretend not to feel)

haze grows
(we pretend not to fear),

light of stars
folding to night

until you arc,
remind we are yours,

our strength,

our breath,

our life.


+ + +


And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire:

and after the fire a still small voice.

1 Kings 19:12


+ + +


breathe into this heart of wood,
promise springing full begun,
drawing closer as you play,
fingers dancing keys undone.

notch to rise and sapling seed,
rhythm telling hearts unbound,
note for note the urging made,
brilliant darkness spinning round.

lift the evening as you go,
nod to lead us into night,
turn inside your open chord,
twine again our storied life.

wood to brass and reed in time
swirling join heart to hand,
age to age the crossing made,
spirit bridging ocean span.


on the Daraja (“bridge”) Wind Ensemble playing above the notch, Gorham, N.H., Pentecost, 2016.