So much depends upon a sigh. “Two roads
Diverged,” the poet said. He chose “the one
Less travelled by.” By what criteria?
Its novelty, neglect, its unknown end—
That sealed the deal. It’s not entirely clear
The speaker—not Frost, mind you, the speaker
Is happy with the chosen path. He sighs.

So much depends on one’s criteria.
Perhaps neglect and novelty deceive.
Perhaps one ought to ask instead: Which road
Requires courage? Cowardice be gone.
Which road will honor faithfulness? Escape
Is never truly possible. Don’t run.
Which road takes sacrifice? Save life, lose it.
Lose life, save it. This makes all the difference.

(Spring 2016)


Spectacular displays of glory dance
Before Ezekiel’s eyes. The art of man
Cannot translate to canvas, paper, clay
These visions bright and strange, nor words convey
The overwhelming weight of being called.
Yet it’s with art and words this man will call
His brothers to repent. He is God’s mouth-
Piece, envoy, representative, compelled
To speak lest blood of guilty men be placed
Upon his head. He’ll testify to all
Of all that he has seen, though well he knows,
He will receive no thanks nor love from them.
Great suffering awaits—but greater still
The suffering for silent mutiny.
The vision’s passed, the prophet sits. “I sat
There overwhelmed among them seven days.”

(Spring 2016)


Lesson I

The process, not the product, is the thing.
The cities on the map are merely dots.
The space between the dots must be enjoyed.
The process, not the product—everything.

Lesson II

I’ve trained my eyes to see the ways we talk.
Now I detect distracted glances aimed
At phones and watches; validation’s lack
Creating vacuums for attention. Speak.

(Spring 2016)


This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice,
Be glad in it. Rejoice, be glad in it.
The manna falls six days; the sixth day sees
A wonder: food enough for two days, proof
Our God provides for our obedience.
Commanding Sabbath rest, He knows it’s hard
To ask the farmer, husband, father, “Cease.
Lay down your tools, your plow, your weary head,
And rest.” He knows a doubt inside the man
Will question if this tithe of time is sloth
Disguised as zeal. He knows on Sabbath-days
The man will look upon his fields with fear:
“Have I not done enough to feed my child?
I believe the Father is Provider. Help
My unbelief!” The Sabbath Lord gives grace.
The manna falls six days; the sixth day sees
A wonder, so the man of faith may rest.
This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice,
Be glad in it. Rejoice, be glad in it.

(Spring 2016)


“One must choose a corner and cultivate that.”
Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James


A little plot of ground is all I seek.
Small—smaller than ambition would desire,
With fences made to make me know the fence
That limits me, a little plot of ground.

Some cattle barons seek to move their posts
Still further, stretching spools of barbed wire out.
It’s best for me to practice faithfulness
With smaller stakes. A little plot of ground.

Marauders disregard the poor, the rich.
Defying wire and wall and moat and sign,
Thieves covet anything outside their bounds,
Their heritage, their little plots of ground.

“The grass we seek is greener; join with us!”
It’s best for me to honor barons when
They gain and give to peasants when they lose.
I’ll be content with this: A little plot.

A little plot of ground is all I need.
A sojourner in foreign lands, I till
And cultivate each square foot I receive
By grace, with grace. Say grace. This land’s a gift.

(Spring 2016)


The businessman steps out to take a call,
The wind extracting tear drops from his eyes.
“Who’s this?”—But another sound comes to his ears.
He does not catch the name. He hears a song,
A song not heard since who knows when, a song
That draws more tears than wind, a song
Whose source compelled to find, he runs.
He shuts the phone, and sprints the boardroom, flies
Down stairs and stairs and tears across the hall
For freedom, searching every street. Eyes close
To find the thread of melody that’s lost
Within the tapestry of urbanite
Cacophony. The song is almost done.
Seconds remain to find the kindred soul
Who loves the song as much as he. Alas!
He stumbles when the song, the thread is cut.
Immobilizing silence. Knees are scraped,
Our man is lost, but he cries joyfully,
For hope the song survives, is found, is loved.

(Spring 2016)


How should I live? As sojourner and yet
As citizen, as settled in yet not
Complacent, fully present yet prepared
To leave, as insider, contributor,
As neighbor, fellow gardener, and yet
As outsider and curiosity,
As strange and normal, weak and bold and wise
And foolish, refugee ambassador,
Cross-bearing yet rejoicing, hoping still,
As dying, resurrecting, speaking life
With breath that smells of death to some, while some,
The sleeper agents, wake to their true call,    
As rooted yet uprooting, looking straight
Ahead yet watching where I step, as young
Yet old, as old yet young, as seeking change
And making change yet waiting for the end
When change will be complete, and not because
Of me, as sowing seeds expecting rain,
As story needing eucatastrophe.
“E’en so Lord Jesus quickly come,” while I,
Your clumsy acrobat, traverse the wire. 

(Spring 2016)


Suburban prophet and seismologist,
Emergency supplies prepared, I reel
At the faintest, merest, near-imagined shift
Of earth beneath this modern-day Pompeii.
Below these cul-de-sacs Vesuvius
Still sleeps and so do we, contentedly—
Correction: fitfully. On these doomed lots
We stockpile more endangered properties,
Defy the needle eye’s circumference,
Through which we cannot pass when we fall through
The cracks, when the gavel of Almighty God
Falls down to split the fault to smite us all,
Consumed consumers, for our faults. What pride,
What callousness, that still we carry on!
And I, who style myself as Jonah, own
A home in Nineveh, on sinking sands
And rumbling earth! Weep sinner, mourn and wail.
The worm consumes my shade, the moth my wealth,
The ground my life, and God what’s left reclaims.

(Spring 2016)

Ghost Art

(Inspired by The Great Divorce)

“‘There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already.
In fact we see it better than you do.’

‘Then there’s never going to be any point in painting here?’

‘I don’t say that. When you’ve grown into a Person
(it’s all right, we all had to do it)
there’ll be some things which you’ll see better than anyone else.
One of the things you’ll want to do will be to tell us about them.
But not yet. At present your business is to see.

Come and see. He is endless. Come and feed.’”

C. S. Lewis
The Great Divorce


The grass still hurts to walk upon,
Blades pierce translucent feet. Yet still
The Solid People hold my arms,
The mountain glories numb my pain.

I begin to cry.

Not because of the grass,
         Because of the brushes and paints left on the bus,
                         Of the drink to surrender my copyrights…
                                                                              My          rights…
                                                                              My                     …
                                                                              Folly—But because I didn’t drink sooner,
                                                                                                    Because I didn’t taste sooner,
                                                                                                                     I didn't see.

I begin to laugh. 

Perhaps someday I’ll paint again.
Right now I don’t much care, for I
Become a Solid Man with every step.
All see the glory. Who needs paint? 

I begin to weep.

For the ones who stayed behind,
       The ones I used to know: critics, theorists, celebrities, students, dreamers,
               Ones who still call Art god
      As if She could make them gods. 
                        I was one of them.
                         Was a mercy the critics cut me,
                                           Like the grass cuts me… a warning against posterity,
                                                                                            A call to seek eternity.

I begin to sing. 

Come and see.
He is endless.
Come and feed.

(Spring 2015)

The Last Baptism

The radio plays loud,
The faucet runs cold.
One fills the tub, the
Other fills the air to
              Hide their prayers.

They crowd into the bathroom in the back of the house.
A girl in white robes kneels in the water:
An appeal to God for a good conscience,
A claim to life.
              They sing a song of hope.

The radio plays loud,
The front door unlocks.
They couldn’t hear the soldiers enter, armed,
Didn’t know Judas betrayed them
              With a key.

The twelve lie slumped across the floor.
They pass through the water one last time:
Laying claim to life.
May we sing for them
              A song of hope?

(Spring 2015)