Morning Settles


Perhaps she came down for the apples,
or was flushed out by the saws powering
the far woods, or was simply lost,

or was crossing one open space for another.

She was a figure approaching, a presence
outside a kitchen window, framed
by the leafless apple trees, the stiff blueberry bushes,

the after-harvest corn, the just-before-rain sky,

a shape only narrow bones could hold,

turning its full face upward, head tilted to one side, as if to speak.

I want my life back.

Morning settles around her like a silver coat.
Rustling branches, hooves in flight.
~Philip Terman “Deer Descending”
Who among us does not feel this?

Everything around me changes faster than I can adapt,
trees topple
marriages shatter
illness overwhelms

I am lost
trying to find my way out
trying to find my way back.

I look for Who will take a moment to listen.
I need Refuge where I may rest safe.
I seek Sanctuary where I may settle in peace,
like a new morning.
I want my life back.


Distinguish Light from Dark




Like animals moving daily
through the same open field,
it should be easier to distinguish
light from dark, fabrications

from memory, rain on a sliver
of grass from dew appearing
overnight. In these moments
of desperation, a sentence

serves as a halo, the moon
hidden so the stars eclipse
our daily becoming. You think
it should be easier to define

one’s path, but with the clouds
gathering around our feet,
there’s no sense in retracing
where we’ve been or where

your tired body will carry you.
Eventually the birds become
confused and inevitable. Even our
infinite knowledge of the forecast

might make us more vulnerable
than we would be in drawn-out
ignorance. To the sun
all weeds eventually rise up.
~Adam Clay “Our Daily Becoming”




I walk among clouds
suspended above me and surrounding my feet,puff balls that blow and shatter,
scatter that covers the path,
if I knew where to step next.

And I don’t know.

All I know is to keep moving toward the light,
to leave darkness behind,
to rise up determined
to reach what just exceeds my grasp.






A Snail’s Huffle


…who has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery,
whether it hides in a snail’s eye
or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ.
~Loren Eiseley


A gastropod brave enough
to cross a busy sidewalk
appeared in no particular rush,
no hurry toward the grassy expanse
on the other side.

The lawn will still be there
whether an hour from now
or tomorrow.
Its waving little snail eyes
see and smell the universal mystery
of the future.

To assure it will not be crushed underfoot
I decided to intervene in history
and gave it a lift
as Someone did for me.

I came, I saw a snail in danger
and barely heard it huffle.
I didn’t need to hear it~
I only needed to see
to do the right thing.

“James gave the huffle of a snail in danger. And nobody heard him at all.”
~A.A.Milne  “When We Were Very Young”







All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.
~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows



Every time I open my eyes to a new day, I need to be reminded how precious is each moment, how wondrous each breath and each heartbeat.

We are created for this — to not forget.

To never forget.



White Flames of Trillium



I wished to wade in the trillium
and be warmed near the white flames.
I imagined the arch of my foot
massaged by the mosses.
This field immersed in gravity
defying growth.  Green and glorious.
It let me know that out of the
soil came I, and green I shall be.
Whether an unnamed weed or a
wild strawberry I will join in
the hymn.
~Luci Shaw from “Spring Song, Very Early Morning”


After a few days away from the farm, enriched by the contact with like-minded people of faith and words, I am longing to return to the land of moss and trillium, of green grass that overwhelms.

I am of the soil, dust to dust am I.   Created, celebrated, centered on the joy of returning where I belong.




Heart, Round Me Right


Earnest, earthless, equal, attuneable, ‘ vaulty, voluminous, . . . stupendous
Evening strains to be time’s vást, ‘ womb-of-all, home-of-all, hearse-of-all night.
Her fond yellow hornlight wound to the west, ‘ her wild hollow hoarlight hung to the height
Waste; her earliest stars, earl-stars, ‘ stárs principal, overbend us,
Fíre-féaturing heaven.
Heart, you round me right
With: Óur évening is over us; óur night ‘ whélms, whélms, ánd will end us.
Where, selfwrung, selfstrung, sheathe- and shelterless, ‘ thóughts agaínst thoughts ín groans grínd.
 ~Gerard Manley Hopkins — stanzas from “Spelt from Sibyl’s Leaves”



A descent into night is overwhelming relief from the stress of the day, an all-encompassing comfort as the fire of the sun warms and then extinguishes, leaving only moon, stars and the infinite heavens we bend backwards to see.

A descent into night is overwhelming loss, an emptying of all that is familiar, as we are overtaken by darkness that is not only outside us, but within us.

Heart, oh dear Heart, please round me right so my thoughts reflect Your thoughts, your Light to illuminate me from within.


Here God Lives



Here God lives, burrowing among
the petals, cross-
pollinating. Here is Christ’s mind
juiced, joined, fleshed, celled.
Here is the clash,
the roil, an invasion, not gentle
as dew; the rose is unfurled
violently until the scent explodes
and detonates in the air
And oh, it trembles—
thousands of seeds ripen in it as
it reels in the wind.
~Luci Shaw from “Flower Head”
I often awake with my mind as askew as my hair,
brushing away the cobwebs of dreams,
smoothing down worries ever present,
curling the whiff of memories long forgotten.
And I realize these same molecules transmitting thoughts
also carried Christ’s while He walked this earth,
the earthbound thoughts of God Himself,
borne by integration of chemistry and ions,
in millions of electrical explosions per second.
My mind is ready to burst with the thought of it:
Here God lives, here He thinks, here He loves.