Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle

Between hate and enmity, the rose
is crushed; the rose–that never was other
than an opening to love.

Beneath the mill-stone, the grain
is crushed; the grain–that never was other
than a nurturing for love.

Wreathed in flame, the lamb
is consumed; the lamb–that never was other
than an offering of love.

The grapes–crushed
and fermented–bloat the skins
for a coming flight.

Now that you are crushed,
take your staff, and set your face
toward New Jerusalem.

Prosper the Work of Our Hands

Prosper the Work of Our Hands

Even now, the axe is at the root of the tree,

and the day that Abram heard the call
and left his father’s home,
he took the carpenter’s hatchet
and hacked every statue his father fashioned
and intended to sell
to splinters;
all but the largest, in whose hands
he rested the hatchet.

As he readied to depart, his father
returned from market and demanded,
angrily, to know why Abram had smashed
all the carvings, the work of his hands.

Abram explained that he had not,
but that the statue holding the hatchet had.

His father flew into an uproar
shouting that a statue
could do no such thing.

Abram, hearing the call again,
turned West to a Promised Land
across the desert, explaining to his father
that his father was right, a statue
could do no such thing.


Who sits in the Mercy Seat?
You demand a king to fight your wars?
Here is Saul or David.
No sooner do you have your kinsman king
than civil war. Here, then is Solomon,
and Judah to the South
and Israel to the North,
and the tributary neighbors
who made Solomon rich
are now both of your enemies.
Now the diaspora and the prophets
and a return and a diaspora and a return.
Who is not dispersed, oh fisher of men?


The preaching thundered
calling attention to the fact
that because of the noise,
none could hear God in the silence.

Let me say that again:
the preaching thundered.

At the end the preacher
called for all to listen to the silence
as he went to sit for
not a few moments in his chair while
no other had the floor.

He thundered, before sitting,
“Let us be still and listen to the sound of our God.”

The silence he intended
was broken by the air breaking
through the jets of a fighter
that flew overhead, taking off
from a nearby airbase.

Let me say that again:
The silence he intended
was broken.

As the communion line formed,
a shaking immigrant man,
a one whose family had fled Asia,
gave the Sign of Peace
to him who must be last.

V for Victory…no peace.
Listen to the sound of our god.


Moses smashed the tablets.

Behold, the Golden Calf,
the work of our hands.

The Sword

The Sword

The old words cry out
as your wounds
pour forth your spirit:

The sword you use to pierce another
must first pass through
your own heart.

Dismas groans in rebuke,
“We murderers, we deserve to die,
but this man is innocent.”

The Most High cries,
“The blood of Abel–your brother, Abel–
cries out to me from the ground.”

The bulls of Bashan
encompass you about,
the bulls, their mouths open.

You see me looking upon you.
He who lives by the sword
shall die by the sword.

In seeing you, I see me.
You hang on that tree
because I am your murderer.

Forgive me, for I know not
what I do. At that hour, I have no sword
but your Cross, and by this

I, too, shall die–

begging, oh innocent one,
to be remembered
in your kingdom.

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary

I never truly understand stained glass:
The flicker flame reflects off red and blue
And other hues of all these Saints and I
Am caught up in the Mystery of Light.

The Light beyond the glass shines through
Illuminating lives I never knew.
Or do I know them better when the Light
Shines through; what does not come alive with Light?

Enthroned in panes just west of St. Louis,
A King and consort beam upon the pews.
But as I look, Saint Seton’s who I see:
A glass lit as she teaches children from

The Word held gently in her hand, and I–
Heartfelt– am where fire burns and never burns.