Love is

Not an exchange of mutual favors, 
or calculated in advance as a profitable investment of time,
love is a unique trust 
placed in chance. 

Love 
is a quest for truth,
truth in relation to something quite precise,
from the point of view of two and not one.

Love
 is experienced, developed and lived 
from the point of view of difference 
and not identity.

 Love 
slices diagonally 
through the most powerful oppositions 
and radical separations. 

The encounter between two differences is an event, 
is contingent and disconcerting.
On the basis of this event, 
love can start and flourish. 

Surprise
 unleashes a process 
that is basically an experience of getting to know the world. 

Love isn’t simply about two people meeting 
and their inward-looking relationship: 
it is a construction, 
a life that is being made, 
no longer from the perspective of One 
but from the perspective of Two.

Love
 is above all a construction that lasts,
a tenacious adventure. 

The adventurous side is necessary, 
but equally so is the need for tenacity. 
To give up at the first hurdle, 
the first serious disagreement, 
the first quarrel, 
is only to distort love. 


Real love is one that triumphs lastingly, 
sometimes painfully, 
over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world.

Love 
is a declaration of eternity 
to be fulfilled or unfurled as best it can be 
within time: 
eternity descending into time.

The joy of love 
is the proof that time can accommodate eternity. 

One, in Love

For me,
God
is
BEING-in-Love
(with Being
verb as well as noun.)

By
being in love,
I am
One with God.

Flow

Love flows toward me 
in every moment: 
through a flower, 
in a petoskey stone, 
in a wisp of cloud,
 in any person 
whom I allow to delight me. 

I experience this flow of love 
when I find myself smiling at things 
for no apparent reason.

Spiritual joy has nothing to do with things going right.
It has everything to do with things just going on, 
going on within me.

Joy is  an inherent, inner aliveness,
almost entirely an inside job,
not first determined by the object enjoyed 
as much as by my very own eye.

When the flow is flowing, 
it doesn’t matter what I'm doing. 
I don’t have to be a priest on the altar 
or a preacher in a pulpit, 
that’s for sure. 

It’s all inherently sacred and deeply satisfying. 

All is whole and holy in the very seeing, 
because I am standing inside a flow of Love 
without any negative pushback of disbelief. 

This is all that there really is. 
Call it awareness, 
call it God, 
call it Love; 
this is Being, 
out of which all things come.

I Doubt; Therefore, I Am

Doubt
is a sign of a healthy faith.

The opposite of faith
is not doubt,
but
certitude.

Doubt creates the space
in which my faith may live.

Certitude
kills faith,
turning it into
a rigid caricature of itself,
a wax museum 
of the real thing.

There is no health
in certitude.

Certitude
is not vibrant;
It is comatose.

Certitude
is a tool of evil;
Doubt 
a journey toward
epiphany and enlightenment.

Despite
church teaching
never to question it,
Doubt
keeps us thinking
and asking Questions,
living faithfully.

For me,
faith is being comfortable
in uncertainty,
secure enough
to be insecure,

for the Holy Spirit continually reveals to me
uncertainty after uncertainty after uncertainty.



Presence

Presence
is a particular state of awareness: 
penetrating, unified, and focused, 
yet also permeable and open. 

This quality of consciousness, 
though not easily put into words, 
is instantly recognizable.

 It is  the moment doors of perception open; 
an epiphany. 
The experience may be quietly physical
 a simple, unexpected sense of deep accord 
between self and everything. 

It may come as the harvest of long observation
leaving me too deep for tears.

 In action, 
it is felt as a state of grace: 
time slows and extends, 
and my every movement and decision 
seem to partake of perfection. 

Presence can also be recognized in things 
it radiates from art,
undimmed from paintings, 
from marble figures, 
from musical notes, words, ideas. 

In the wholeheartedness of presence, 
world and self begin to cohere. 
With presence comes an enlarging: 
of what may be known, 
what may be felt, 
what may be done.

For me, 
presence in making a poem 
is neither a wholly conscious activity 
nor an act of unconscious transcription
 it is a way for new thinking and feeling 
to come into existence, 
a way in which different modes of meaning and being 
may join. 

This is why writing a poem is no arbitrary tinkering, 
but a continued honing of my self at the deepest level.

For me,
poetry moves my consciousness 
toward empathy.

Poetry leads me into self, 
but also away from it. 

Free to turn inward and outward, 
free to remain still and wondering 
amid the mysteries of mind and world, 
I arrive, for a moment, 
at a kind of fullness that overspills into everything. 

One breath taken completely; 
one poem, fully written, fully read;
in such presence, 
anything can happen. 

A poem 
can blaze up into music, 
into image, 
into my heart and mind’s knowledge.

Presence.


A Listening Silence

Silence can be frightening, 
a graveyard of fixed assumptions. 

Real silence puts any present understanding to shame; 
orphans me from certainty; 
leads me beyond my well-known and accepted reality 
and confronts me with the unknown 
and previously unheard conversation 
about to break in upon my life.

In silence, 
my essence speaks to me of essence itself 
and asks for a kind of unilateral disarmament, 
my own essential nature slowly emerging 
as defended assumptions atomize and fall apart. 

As busyness dissolves 
I begin to join the dialogue 
through the portal of unknowing
and a robust vulnerability, 
revealing the way to listen
with a different ear, 
a more perceptive eye, 
an imagination refusing to come too early to a conclusion, 
and belonging to a different person 
than the one who first entered the quiet.

Reality met on its own terms 
demands my absolute presence, 
and my absolute giving away, 
living on equal terms 
with the fleeting and the eternal, 
the hardly touchable 
and the fully possible, 
a full bodily appearance and disappearance, 
a rested giving in and giving up; 
another identity braver, more generous and more here 
than the one looking hungrily 
for the easy, unearned answer.

Longing

Longing has its own secret, future destination, 
and its own residence within me,
a ripening from my core, 
a seed growing in my body.

It is as if I am put into relationship with an enormous distance inside me 
leading back to some unknown origin 
with its own secret timing,
indifferent to my will, 
and gifted at the same time 
with an intimate sense of proximity, 
to a lover, to a future, to a transformation, to a life I want, 
and to the beauty of the sky and the ground that surround me.

Longing has a dangerous edge, 
that cuts and wounds me 
while setting me free and beckoning me 
exactly because of my human need to live in the right kind of peril. 

My instinct 
is that I am here essentially to risk myself in the world, 
that I am a form of invitation to others and to otherness, 
that I am meant to hazard myself 
for the right thing, 
for the right woman, 
for a son or a daughter, 
for the right work 
or for a gift given against all the odds. 

In longing I move and am moving 
from a known but abstracted elsewhere, 
to a beautiful, about to be reached, 
someone, something or somewhere 
I want to call my own.

Longing . . . 

Wild and Free

I write what I write,
I do what I do,
not for some definite, measurable result,
but simply because I am moved by curiosity,
love,
and an attempt to make a difference.

 I try to overcome any inertia
which would keep me stuck in a rut.
I attempt to tap into the free and useless energy
with which all of us can surpass ourselves.

Such energy cannot be planned and managed
or made purposeful,
or weighted by the standards of utility
or judged by its social consequences.
It is wild and it is free.

But all the heroes, saints, seers, explorers and creators
partake of it.
They do not know what they will discover
nor do I know where my impulses are taking me.

I can give no account in advance
of where I am going
or explain completely where I have been.

I have been possessed for a time
with an extraordinary passion
which is unintelligible in ordinary terms.

No preconceived theory fits me.
No material purpose actuates me.
I do many useless, divinely foolish things.

And what I have proven to myself
and some others
is that I am no mere creature of habits,
no mere automaton in routine,
no mere cog in the collective machine,
but that in the dust of which I am made
there is a fire, lighted now
and hoping the wind of the Holy Spirit
fans the flame of my Love
into a raging inferno.

Revelation

Part of the way up
my friend the tree,
a beautiful pine
in front of 
Le Chateau du Lac,
our place on Torch Lake,
some dead out-stretched branches
needed removal.

To our initial dismay,
the tree trimmers
suggested that the pine
would look much more natural
and beautiful
if in addition to the dead branches,
the green ones below were removed.

We hesitated because
we enjoyed the privacy and shade the branches provided 
to our deck
and because we hated cutting off anything healthy.
But,
we agreed that
My Friend the Tree
would look strange with a bare middle.

Surprisingly, I discovered
after the trimming
that the pine's branches
we're in fact hiding from view
a flowering pear tree
we planted in honor and memory
of our departed Son, Mark.

Though I thought often of Mark,
dead now over ten years,
I can now see the pear tree
each and every time
I look out at Torch Lake
through our picture window.

Properly trimming My Friend the Tree
gifted me
with an open view of the Mark Tree
and frequent loving thoughts
of our Son.

Precious, So Precious

Truly in the precious present moment,
time seems to vanish,
any sense of urgency vanishes.

 Any important differencex between myself and all other things disappear.

In it,
I know that I belong to the world,
feeling comfortable in my own containment
 in the totality of creation.

I do not feel that I understand any mystery,
 not at all;
rather that I can be happy and feel blessed
within the perplexity/simplicity of the moment
 this late summer morning,
with its gentleness,
the sense of the great work being done
though the grass where I stand scarcely trembles.

 It is the most casual of moments,
not mystical as the word is usually meant,
for there was no vision,
or anything extraordinary at all,
but only my sudden awareness
of the connectedness of all things within one world:
trees, bushes, birds, squirrels, coons, men and women.

And yet it is a moment not to be forgotten,
one I hope to enter soon,
again and again.