Advent Calls

In the depths of the heart

a voice whispers

awaken, O Man, awaken

the first light is lit

the world awaits

the maidens have trimmed their wicks

and still you slumber

awaken to the worlds needs

awaken to the song of humanity

the cries of the innocent

that haunt our souls

the angel speaks softly

in a voice of thunder

Wake, O Man, Wake.

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Selling Our Souls

Are we really that far gone?

In this time and place

the darkness of a human

overshadows the light

and covers us in shame.

Many despair this darkness

as they try to make sense

of the trite words being tossed

at the expense of another soul.

You shall love God and neighbor

unless that neighbor is different

and then you look to denigrate

while the crowds cheer raising their thumbs

feeling vindicated without knowing

they have sold their own souls

for the price of thirty pieces.

Where Does Poetry Come From?

Where does poetry come from?

Is it birthed in tragedy,

when a heart is broken

and fear darkens a life?

Is it created, when love is found

in that first kiss under the oak tree?

Does poetry only belong to the young

who see colors dance along the mind.

Or, does poetry come from a life full of mystery

where even the smallest grain of sand

is seen as an invitation into stillness.

I am old now seeking to find my poets heart

in the quiet moments of the day.

I listen for that young voice

crying out in my dreams and imagination

seeking words and images

long lost in the whirlwinds of the past.

Are we Doomed?

I’ve always wondered what it must have been like for those ancient Romans as their world began to collapse around them. Here they were, the only superpower, a first class military, abundant wealth and status and yet, just outside their walls stood a rag-tag army of immigrants. Yes, these barbarians, this tribe of Goths, were immigrants. They came across the boundaries of the Empire, they were part of a great migration that would eventually swallow up the once powerful Roman Empire and plunge Europe into what we call today, the Dark Ages.

I’m not going to go into the history of what happened but I am curious as to what those Romans felt as they watched their way of life crumble before their eyes. What warnings did they have? What propaganda did the Emperor and Senate use to insure them that all would be just fine? It is hard for me to imagine their feelings, then again, as I watch the daily drama unfold on Twitter and the various media sites, I’m beginning to understand what may have been going through their minds. Of course, that is all assuming that they, the Romans, were aware that something big was happening, that their world was experiencing a cataclysmic shock that would be felt for generations to come. Back then, there was no Social Media sites, there was no instantaneous news feeds running 24/7, and once the roads were cutoff, even getting messages into the city would have been greatly curtailed. I can only imagine a city rife with rumors, each one more shocking that the next. Unscrupulous businessmen taking advantage of the fear, selling security in the form of freed gladiators, who would protect your home and family from the impending hoard. Of course, being human the citizens would have done anything for security, just like today, we will do anything for security even if it means giving up our precious freedoms. Only later, when it’s already too late, do we find these securities to be nothing more than phantoms, there one moment gone like a wisp of smoke the next.

We Americans are not immune from the changes we see all around us. Nations, like North Korea, Iran and others, want to have nuclear capabilities. They see the larger nations as a threat, bullies who can punish them economically and so like the little kid being bullied in school they seek to even out the playing field, and that means having “the bomb.” The big kids cry foul, claim that they’re not playing by the rules but then again, neither did those Germanic tribes who sacked Rome play by the rules. So, what do we do? I have no answer for the greater questions, in fact no one does. There are no easy answers, no one size fits all solutions that will make everyone happy. After all we are dealing with human beings, a species that for centuries has never been able to see the consequences of their actions.

Then the question becomes, are we doomed? No, at least I hope not. Sure there are those days when it looks pretty dismal then we have those moments of light. People reaching out to help one another, some even crossing boundaries that once were impassable to pull each other along. The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida have shown our better nature as people reached out across, social, racial and cultural divides to help one another. Heroic efforts of first responders and ordinary citizens, risking life and limb to help, again shows that deep connection we have. Somewhere, in each of us there is that spark of the Divine that despite our best efforts to keep it hidden from view refuses to be closeted.

Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11. I looked up into a bright blue September sky, as a plane flew overhead preparing to land at Logan. That plane is not a villain, it is not inherently evil, it is just a machine designed to carry people across great distances in a matter of hours and not days. It is one of humanity’s crowning achievements, the very idea of flight, of escaping the bonds of earth and flying into the heavens. Yet, on that day 16 years ago, this marvel of engineering was turned into a weapon of mass destruction. Yes, humanity is capable of doing great things, wonderful things and, humanity is also capable of so much destruction.

In Matthews Gospel Jesus is quoted as saying, “fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell,” I have to wonder, as I read the latest social media postings and watch the news, if the one we need to fear is not the other but the one in the mirror.

Your Story

Your story has sunk into my skin

dived through epidural layers

soaking through the membranes

to become a part of the greater story

the one we have shared all these years

your story has rooted itself

with roots that entwine the deepest parts

of my very being

feeding off the well of love

your story does not exhaust or deplete

it gives as much as it takes

it feeds until it becomes one with mine

and we live together

our souls singing in sweet harmony

I Need to Stop

I think I need to stop,

just stop.

Not slowdown,

not take it easy

no, just stop

just don’t move

and feel the earth

under my feet

feel the air

on my face,

listen

as the trees rustle

and the birds sing.

Just stop

because

it’s the only way

to feel,

hear,

smell

and know

that I’m connected

to this earth,

to nature’s movements,

connected to the stars

in the heavens

as they reflect

Divine love

in the dust we share.

To My Grandchildren who start another School Year

To my Grandchildren who start another school year.

Each of you are embarking on a new path,

one you have never trod before.

You will learn, be challenged and grow.

There will be hard days,

there will be easy days,

but each day is an opportunity.

Be aware, look at your fellow classmates,

look at the ones who shrink away,

who are quiet and shy, they need you.

Listen to what they say,

not just listen but hear them.

Allow your own hearts to grow,

not just in compassion but also in love for those who struggle.

Your own road will be tough enough,

the storms you encounter will be real

you will need others to help pull you through.

I am an old man,

I have walked my own path and weathered my own storms,

I am not here to tell you what to do,

for that will not dissuade you,

but I am here to listen.

Each of you is a gift,

a unique,

one of a kind,

full of life and love,

filled with light and joy.

Let that light shine even in the darkest days,

let not those who have no joy pull you down,

but rather allow your light to guide them

lifting up their broken hearts.

The world needs you,

I need you,

you are my lights,

my dearest grandchildren,

whose gift of laughter and joy lifts up my heart.