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Cancer Patient

Though ill with cancer, I am here outdoors To walk slow steps and feel the warmth of spring. By chance, a nearby hermit thrush outpours His ecstasy to live, to fly, to sing, And daffodils hurl yellow at the sky As if they too would venerate this day. . . . . Continue Reading »

Station VI of the Cross

VI. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus He stopped a moment, when her eyesMet his and grieved to recognize The mark of suffering in his face. With a slow hand, she drew her veil,Revealed herself, ashamed and pale, As if awaiting his embrace. . . . . Continue Reading »

Late Planting Il.

Two hundred miles I sojourned yesterday     to see one tractor and its drill         seeding the Fargo clay. For me that’s always April’s greatest thrill         which this year came in May. Snowmelt soaked into soil.  None ran . . . . Continue Reading »

Almost a Franciscan

A long walk up the mountain from Assisi— my boot heel severed from my right foot Redwing, I smacked it back, using some broken pavement. I’d walked my little brother to l’Eremo, some thirty years later I’d be a Catholic. Now, I suppose, I’m almost a Franciscan.  I’d come not to . . . . Continue Reading »

Easter Spoils, 2012

This is the end—for me, the beginning of life. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer (from his last recorded words) Words to a prison friend, spoken in haste. Gestapo men had come to transfer him, Low Sunday, sixty-seven years ago Today. The next morning, he’d be hanged with others. No question who . . . . Continue Reading »

Japanese Maple in January

All spring she brushed aside my arguments that it was cheaper and would make more sense to fill the yard with hardy Yankee stock. She bought her maple, junked the chain-link fence, and tried to start a lawn; our crabby flock of grackles grew too fat on seed to quarrel. While masons tamed the mud . . . . Continue Reading »

Three Prayers

I rarely pray to Christ. His sacrifice was so perfect, it’s far beyond my ken. I’m one of those who have denied Him thrice but take His bread and wine, then say amen.  I pray three ways, first to the Holy Ghost in charge of poets who would serve the Lord, then to St. Michael, head of . . . . Continue Reading »

Maps, Flowers, Leaves and Weeds

They trade these old books with scarce a flip, Some autographed, some lovingly signed. Most have been isolated. You know when a book Has been truly used; there’s smell, scruff of attics, Garages, closets, some abandoned under leaky Back yard roofs. You guess a humane history by the skin. Trust . . . . Continue Reading »

Everyman's Poet

Dana Gioia is one of those poets known more for his criticism and service than his own poetry. His essay “Can Poetry Matter?,” published in the Atlantic in 1991, turned more than a few heads for arguing that poetry had wrongly become a coterie art, written for and read by . . . . Continue Reading »

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