Saturday, April 03, 2021

awake, o sleeper ... you, as, god

  From an Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday:

The Lord’s Descent Into the Underworld 

Homily Author Unknown

“Something strange is happening — there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and He has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear. 

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79), He has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, He who is both God and the son of Eve.

The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won Him the victory. At the sight of Him, Adam, the first man He had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’ (Ephesians 5:14)

‘I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth (Philippians 2:6-7). For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you. 

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God.

The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.’”

Friday, April 02, 2021

buon venerdì, sta solo

Ed È Subito Sera

Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra

trafitto da un raggio di sole: 

ed è subito sera.

(Poem by Salvatore Quasimodo, 1930)

...   ...   ...

And Suddenly It's Evening

Everyone stands alone on the heart of the earth 

transfixed by a ray of sun: 

and suddenly it's evening. 

(translated by Patrick Barron) 

be for you; before me

                    (Good Friday haiku for old coyote monk)

Misworded — “This day 

I have forgotten you.”*  Spell

The word again

*(Ps 2:7)

Thursday, April 01, 2021

benefits unconsidered

 My life as a fool

 is celebrated today, 

on April fool’s day.

No fooling. Living 

as an idiot has un-

considered vorteil

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

stuttering through dead air

If you are tired of name-calling and mocking and condemnation on the part of people who name-call, mock, and condemn -- I'm with you.

It is a time to take a breath, recognize that name-calling, mocking, and condemning is a way of being and behaving that benefits no one and harms everyone.

I'd like, rather, to forgive those in our culture/media/politics who with smiles and theatrics promulgate and perpetuate this kind of decompensative deconstruction of our fragile moral linkage of one to the other, of citizen to citizen, of stranger to stranger.

It seems that it has become playground recess fanfare to denigrate and diminish those you disagree with, those whose point of view does not mirror yours

This is a good week to sorrow over such circumstances. A week to remember how death diminishes dreams and determination. How those who would remind us we are deeper, more beautiful, and the stuff of wonderful becoming are slapped down and tortured, and killed in the name of we-don't-need-no-education and we don't want anything that interferes with our ideas of freedom and self-determination.

We call each other sociopath, psychopath, dolt and deviant. Sinners are no longer candidates for confession and absolution. Rather they are sent out into the desert of desolate rejective expulsion and flaming devils stand ready to annihilate them should they attempt to return.

We've become refugees on a dystopian migration from civil and spiritual sanctuary. We wander bare streets of desiccated opinions and holier-than-thou pontifications that despise the distaff and pretend what isn't so is.

Migraines of memory try to sift through badly distorted history to retrieve moments of kindness, respect, and fond esteem. But barricades and brambles of meanness and cynicism trip up the traveler attempting the pilgrimage.

What has happened?

What rough beast slouches?

Does the eye actually begin to see in a dark time?

Do we have to enact the mythopoetic destruction of salvific generosity and redemptive compassion over and over until we no longer recognize the benefit of such courageous kindness?

Is there meaning that survives dour ambition and unfeeling greed?

What grief arises, what loneliness fogs, what unsatisfying explanations slog to the table wanting salient discourse but finding shrugging indifference?

"To whom shall we turn?" asked a fisherman to an itinerant holy man.

"Don't ask me, I am forsaken, " was the reply.

And the moment froze.

The entitled elites began to gather.

There'd be a hot time in the old town soon.

I've betrayed enough and with such blithe ignorance that what will come from such certain doctrinaire postulation of sufficient hope as is heard stuttering through dead air cannot reassure a failing people they will not hit ground hard and irremediably.

If I were to check my watch, I suspect it would indicate it were time to pray, or sit zazen, or stare into the emptiness and try to comprehend what I am seeing there in that great invisible landscape.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

preserve your memory

Red squirrel in road

Drops blood by mouth, move to weeds,

Walking return, gone

seven children at home

 Merging traffic, car

Comes close to car, man shoots, kills

Woman; this country...

Monday, March 29, 2021

imagine everything

Friend sends article about an oncology nurse finding solace in Mary Oliver's poetry. 

If God exists he isn’t just butter and good luck.
He’s also the tick that killed my wonderful dog Luke.
Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.

(from poem, “At the River Clarion” by Mary Oliver)

On Mondays, at this time of spiritual poignancy, poetry is holy. 


            (three haiku)


when wind slices through

trees, each branch feels itself carved

small finger prayer bead


train platform night fog

itadakimasu -- I

humbly receive -- mu


peanut butter toast

hot cup coffee, apricot

preserve me, it's noon

do these analogies perplex

 Fear closes voices. Truth hides behind fear. People die with fear and truth failing to find open disclosure and moral courage.

Remember the cowardly, the leader who hid behind personal deception and broken character? Who failed to care? Who lied and lied?

We cannot allow the crime of distorted loyalty simply to drift away from carnage effected.

Finally, the intimidated experts slowly find their voices and acknowledge the pseudo-emperor did not have any clothes or raiment of truth anywhere on his exposed body.

 But it was Birx, who has been pilloried for praising Trump as being “so attentive to the scientific literature” and for not publicly correcting the president as he made outlandish claims about unproven therapies, whose disclosures — in one of her first televised interviews since leaving the White House in January — may have been the most compelling.

As of Sunday, more than 548,000 Americans have died from infection with the coronavirus.

“I look at it this way,” she said. “The first time, we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge.

“All of the rest of them,” she added, referring to almost 450,000 deaths, “in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially” had the administration acted more aggressively.

She also described a “very uncomfortable, very direct and very difficult” phone call with Trump after she spoke out about the dangers of the virus last summer. “Everybody in the White House was upset with that interview,” she said. 

(—from, Birx lashes Trump’s pandemic response, citing needless deaths, by Sheryl Gay Stolberg New York Times,March 29, 2021, 1:39 a.m., in The Boston Globe)

Truth is a shy guest arriving at our table. It has followed incontinent elephant during absurd acclamations of grandiose pomposity walking down parade route of self-aggrandizement. 

Nero fiddled and our misleader duffed from golf course. Something seriously wrong happened. It begs for reckoning. But all that remains are scorecards with false accounting touting great victory.

He thought there was something to be gained by his lies and denials of what begged for truth.

We were snookered. He claims mulligan.

The dread clanging of metal hammer on iron spike has torn through flesh with sickening applause of drugged enthusiasts unwilling and unable to say “No!”

The condemnation of truth is long our courted proclamation. Justice wears blindfold and a gag and is chained to chance in a deteriorating mental casino named impotency and shameful forgery owned by a family without conscience.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

I don’t know


“Soon dead,” the zen master would tell 

his students whenever there was a fuss.

It is Holy Week.

I can hear him off in the distance,

“Now dead,” he is saying.

In the story Jesus rode death into Jerusalem.

It would soon die, death. What then?

Death dead, where is death?

Gone, gone. What remains?

(You cheeky bastard!)

You think I know?

arriving to depart

Consciousness rides mule up hill to town gate

Become our king, little thoughts exclaim

Knives in sleeves are fingered out of sight

Prepare to carve initials into shavings fell to dirt

unseen light behind closed door

 There are mysteries

In your refrigerator

Angels cannot reveal

Take honey yoghurt

Or chocolate milk on door

Scriptures not yet read

That monastery

Where prayer is always silence

Nothing moves God’s breath