This time of day when I broke into this world
as the sun took its leave in the new spring sky,

I know the infinity of its descending glow. Now
in winter the gentleness of its rays soften the

edges of the long labored day, night’s stillness
tenderly ushers in. Deer follow their path across

the snow patched arroyo, birds nestle into arms
of their shelter, silence descends. My breath

slows in the crisp chilled air, I suck deeply
filling my soul. I, too, am his creation.

Author’s Note:

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the possible reason I am so comfortable and relaxed when the sun is setting. I was born at 5:56 in the spring.

This evening I am bringing to a close a powerful silent retreat I made this weekend. I will be heading back into the world tomorrow, but I will not leave barren. In a few simple days I have gone through an amazing journey of a heart opening, discovery, and troubling darkness. But I am coming out on the other side with joy in my heart.


Her feet planted firmly on the ground
back arches, head bends to the vine

she pulls, roots for tubers to fill her basket.
Hands caked with mud from the depths of

earth she shakes, brushes, and releases each
prize with care into a community for all. She

hasn’t time for worry of the sun, only feels its
burn on her back through gossamer cloth. When

she stands to stretch like a child rising from
slumber, her face, her heart now lifted to the light,

in the blaze she shines, moist in the heat of his
life source. In the muck covering her hands she

smells his sweat of creation. From the basket
she holds the stuff of his sculpting. In her heart

she burns with his love. Her labor raised in
praise, she tenders her harvest.

Author’s Note:

Retreat. In my silent retreat I find there is hard work to do. But, in the end, as long as I tend my job, there a way evolves and shows itself.

Written Saturday, January 18, 2014, Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House, Sedalia, CO, a silent house.

#5 of Ten

10th Day of Christmas/January 3, 2014

Today my list is full. I drive the highway light of traffic,
the Christmas season keeps one last  workday
in reverence. He sits beside me bundled against the
cold not having understood the weather report, sixty

degrees today. Our excursion to the cemetery on roads
of his memory, his television repair shop, his church,
his family house in Globeville, a fifty minute trip one way.
The Polish church steeple the only landmark able to peek

above the concrete wall protecting it from speeding cars.
Our monthly visit to mom waited for three. Familiar
words accompany the ride, same stories told each
time this map is followed. “Just in case” a folded walker

sits as a third passenger in the backseat, his cane tucked
next to him in front. Legs unsure rise up steps too tall
into the mausoleum. I move summer flowers from
the vase, three months too long a stay. A winter bouquet

slips into the place of reverence. We say prayers, five
Our Fathers and five Hail Marys, and mom’s daily verse
to Our Lady of Czestochowa. Today it’s not enough. He
wants to stay longer, but can’t figure out good reasoning.

We gather again inside the car making our way to the
dry grass place of his mother and father. No flowers here,
no headstones mark the spot, but he knows where they
lie. At the intersection before the main road, to the right.

He will not walk the bumpy sod hoping to trim the grass
growing over the plaques set deeply into the ground so
lawnmowers can cut the summer lawn with ease. He looks
through the window of the car and tells them he loves them.

With one bow of his head, as if to say, “Okay, I am ready,”
another bow follows, and then, “Let’s go.” He has their
permission. He says it will be his last visit, the next one will be
to stay. We buy hamburgers and fries for lunch on our way home.




Author’s Note:

You will notice, if you are reading my poems, that I have jumped from the 4th Day of Christmas to the 10th Day of Christmas. My hope was to write from the first Sunday in Advent through the 12th Day of Christmas, with one poem for each week of Advent and then 12 poems for the days following. I hoped to use traditions in the Catholic church as inspiration. I wished to avoid the song and wanted to focus on the saints and feasts.

However, I found that this path did not lead me to inspiration, but despair. The saints became saints because of their difficult journeys. It was the Feast of the Holy Innocents that brought my journey to a halt. It took me days to find something to celebrate for that day. So I found myself not joyfully celebrating this time, but avoiding my computer. It has been a bit of a dry time post Christmas day.

Today’s poem began as  Litnay of 10 in a nod to ten lords a leaping, with a list of ten things I needed to accomplish. But the day had its own path and I followed it.

Holy Innocents

4th Day of Christmas/December 28th

In winter when cold hovers long with breath so bitter it
burns making its way down the throat like a shot of good

bourbon, and fingers bend resistantly but dutifully to
commands, here I sit on this ice box step the fourth day

of Christmas watching neighbor children skate without
blades where curbbed water did not drain and is now

joined with the sidewalk and level with the neighbor’s
driveway. They push and shove and snort as they tumble,

the smallest bravely taking each spill less padded than the
others. Holy Innocents at play under a grey day in Colorado

where the sun bids an early farewell leaving us to warm our
bones and hearts left out in the chill with unfeigned shenanigans.

Author’s Note:

And on the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me “four calling birds,” apparently one way tradition gave to children as a means to remember there are four Gospels in the New Testament. Also this day commemorates the Feast of the Holy Innocents, as in the book of Matthew The Coventry Carol was written for this day.