Letter to friend

You have been in my mind lately old friend. How are you?

Things move slowly here in the southern part of the USA – summer’s been unpredictable at best, and I feel like an old farmer – complaining first of too much sun “a drought a drought” I grumble, then too much rain “a flood my plants are drowning”…reminds me of a scene in Kurosawa’s Seven Samurais where the youngest of the group berates the villagers for hiding rice (I am sure you know the scene).

It has been almost 15 years here in this city of Richmond full of restless ghosts of old wars, and rolling hills and tamed wilderness, so much like England!

And The Work goes on – fighting fascism with kind words, fighting racism with a handshake. My poetry itself has morphed into I know not what – a verbal embrace, a greater tolerance for speech that seems to go nowhere, not even therapeutic.

I realized, not sure why it took so long, that when Our Master says “Be ye perfect” he means “sing a new song”! And I also realize that we (all, most) sing a handful of songs over and over – mostly dirges. It is hard to sing a new song. Hard to learn the tune, hard to learn the lyrics, difficulty harmonies.

So now instead of looking for speech that does something (therapeutic), I am more interested in joining in the chanting of psalms – same ol’ complains, same ol’ issues, sung over and over, sometimes shouted loudly. Instead of the usual husbandly complaint: “Here goes my wife again whining about X” I now can honestly say “Here is my wife again reciting her Psalm.” And I can join her in that, and together we can transmute it into gold.

I find that I am now able to pay attention. Maybe it is age? That is pretty much all my words have been doing – paying attention (see below – apologies if you’ve seen any before – consider it my psalm then).

The kids are grown! Oldest is 14, and youngest is going to be 8! Yikes! I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled!

How are you? How is your Work going?



I felt suddenly the weight of the downtown
Tall office buildings on my shoulders
Renew us Spirit and the whole world
I begged, my fingers holding on to the prayer rope
As if it could float

The wind blew cold
blew me
Across the street away from the legless, homeless man
Who sits on the corner of the bank plaza
Not today, I prayed, not today again

A leaf scratched along the street
Like a broken heart, given up dreams
Startling me from my prayers

This winter, which never really started
And which will never end
Begging the question, undecided, passionless
This winter stands for nothing

Almighty set up your kingdom upon the world

After Hurricane Irene (2011)

i miss the wind
blowing the family together
huddled on a sofa
watching the trees bend and bend and snap

i miss the torrential rain
drenching our conversations
softening them like hard earth
hushing harshness

i miss the day dawning without electricity
neighbors stepping out gingerly
greeting each other and standing
in stunned solidarity
over the blurring of picket fence, garden

when God blows through
nothing is left standing
but our love for each other


My life is best understood
As that time I walked into a room
Where the beautiful woman had just left
By another door
All that is left is the hush which settled like her perfume
Upon those who were left behind

And I
I came in late, just late
Left to imagine the excitement of her appearance
From the way the remainders
Slowly woke up into the dreariness of the present
And that scent, subtle flowery sunlit

Her tangible absence lingered
The door closing on the other end of the room
All eyes slowly turning back to their magazines
And cell phones

And I
I was left to hold on to the dissipating
Essence of her charm and grace and
Her rapidly approaching ugly and bitter old age

But this side of the door
She is immortal Venus
This side of the door
I breathe deeply from her beauty
Which I did not see
But know so well


It is white
And boundless – stretching in all directions
She said in the dark after we made love

I touched her curves still moist with sweat
Like a potter running his hands in wet clay

Boundaries, curves, delimitations
Uncovering and recovering hidden sacred grottoes of pleasure
Suffocating, intoxicating

The one word for me is embrace
No, she said, release


About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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