Transformation, Naturally

Did your lungs burn with that very first breath?

Was your skin tender as old scales

Were rubbed away

On the rocky shore?

You crawled from the sea

On new legs

Searching for food

For something new.

Was your body worn and tired?

Your vision blurred,

Your hopes vague?

Transformation is never easy.

A new butterfly

Has damp and fragile wings

Before it learns to fly.



Cry Me a River


It has been a day for tears

For weeping

A day unimagined

For most of my life

Has actually come

And I am reminded

That hope can surprise us

That from hard work and pain

Beauty can arise

And love sometimes can win

So I cry for joy.

And I sob for all who have been lost

Before this day

For the struggle has been long

And I cry for those who will still die

Along the way

For the journey is not done.

There is always a backlash

As we know all too well

Black churches are still burning

Even as a song of grace

Flows up from the grief

For those lost in Charleston

Cry me a river

Spirit of life

Hold us and heal us

Make our hearts larger

As joy and pain overflow.

Help us to rise

And stand once again

And always

On the side of love.



Sometimes the mountain is hidden

Clouds surround the dream

The foggy breath of the disenchanted

Obscures the majesty

Then in a flash of sunlight

The snowy peak is revealed

Climb with me to the summit

And, oh, what sights we’ll see.

Blood in the Water

It is hard to see the sunlight

Beneath such a murky sea

Blood in the water

And blood on our hands

We have suffered the shark too long.

4 little girls in Birmingham

9 prayerful souls this week

Our hearts can’t break again

Ride the waves, drain the swamps

Speak the truth, call the racists out.

Follow the light

Swim to the shore

Find some air to breathe.

The River

Water for the river

Is born inside the earth

Oozing up in a muddy spring

Or falling from the sky

In drops the size of pearls.

In the cold clear nights

It frosts the blades of grass

And gathers in the dew.

The river can’t flow uphill

So don’t even try

But please beware

You can get trapped

In stagnant ponds

Providing food

Only for mosquitos.

You can be frozen

In an icy glacier

Cold and lonely.

Does your river rage

Over the banks and levees

That would hold it back?

Does it wander lost

In a flooded plain

No hope in sight?

Keep your river flowing clear

Sparkling like a mountain stream

The current strong enough

To smooth the stones

That fall across your path

Let children play

Along your shore

That they too might learn

The river’s ways.


I have never been retiring

Shy sometimes
Lazy even
Fearful before courage comes

But never retiring
Even in that brief year
When I was technically retired.

The prophet Jeremiah
Spent much of his life
At the bottom of a well
I have been much luckier.

Speak now
Silence does not equal

Old House

An old house knows

What time can do

And how to survive

The storms, the rain, the wind

Timbers creak

The roof is patched

Termites have nibbled where they would

Ah, but in basement

Memories are stored

Wisdom is in the attic

And courage waits

Behind a closet door


The banshees scream

In rage and despair

Talons ready to rend

Your soul

Wings open in the night

Turning dreams to fear

Walk boldly

Love the banshees

It is not their fault

But keep your distance

There are other hills

To climb

Garbage Day


Garbage day is coming

The refuse trucks are rolling

Down every street in town

Disrupting our dreams

With the sound of breaking glass

Put out your trash

Plie it high

Recycle what you can

What might be useful still

But send the rest away.

It is a new day

Leave the past behind.

Shooting Stars

A quick flash in the sky

A shooting star, a dream

Blink and it is gone

The vision carried away

Somewhere else, beyond

But wait.

Meteors hit the earth

Carving a place

For themselves

So our dreams can

When they land

When we take them home


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