Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


in our dotage,
eager to arrive,
living in the moment,
yet ready for the next,
in childlike wonder,
we’ll spew forth,
“Are we there yet?”

Somewhere near
the bartender yells,
“Last call.”
And the priest,
solemnly drones,
“…dust to dust.”
While the strangers
in the crowd sing,
“Amazing Grace,”
the wild geese
fly overhead,
forever, on their journey home.

Monday, April 23, 2007


The angels of comfort,
they captured me on Sunday morn.
And after wrapping me
in gold threaded blue silk
and anointing my forehead
with fine fragrant oils
I decided, perhaps
these messengers from heaven knew best
and that my mortal flesh
needed nurturing
after all.
I succumbed.

My heart-yoked breath
grew faint but deeper
as I lay in the arms of my beloveds.
Not resting, but spinning dreams,
tales of familiar spirits
from diverse worlds with different tongues
but speaking the same true words.

Would that this too shall never pass,
I bow my head to softly pray
for simple gifts of time and peace
brought to us this Sabbath day.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Idyllic childhood memories
evaporate like morning dew
under the harsh light of learning
truths fin’lly ripe for consumption.

Pray give us strength to withstand pain
inflicted by those not able
to turn from our destructive habits,
falling back on their cruel nature.

When will we gird our souls to halt
transmission of these ancient pains
on innocents now freed to fly
and simply sing their songs to us?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Brother J. over at The Wingéd Man tagged me with a meme titled: Six Weird Things About Me. (Of course, those who know me are wondering why I’ve been limited to Six Weird Things.) I’ll let my choices speak for themselves:

1. In my experience, a week on retreat in a monastery is more fun than a

week at Disney World.
2. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I think I truly believe that God

w0n’t take me home until I’ve finished reading all the books that are
under my bed.
3. I can find “crap” I have to have in any store.
4. I still harbor thoughts that I was adopted.
5. I have 3 “unfixed” cats who are siblings who I really don’t think will

“do it” because it would be incestuous. (So far so good, 3 years out).
6. I really don’t think any of the above items are really weird.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


I sit and read beside her hospital bed.
Midday and the halls are bustling
with nurses and aides in a hurry
to complete their tasks
before heading home
to complete their tasks
before returning to work
to see me sitting and reading
and waiting for our pardon from God.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Brother Antony over at
Coming to the Quiet, writes about seduction as
it applies to the monastic life – specifically in the incredible film, “Into
Great Silence.” We don’t often use the word “seduction” in the spiritual
realm, but about a year ago I did so in a church newsletter article.
Antony’s posting reminded me of it.
Back in February of 2006, I spent some time on a beautiful retreat at

Saint Benedict's monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. Not surprisingly,
the after effects lasted for quite some time despite the usual hard landing
in what some folks call the real world.

During my time away, I spent four days in a hermitage, only coming

down from the mountain to attend morning and evening services with
the monks and other retreatants. Most of the time in the hermitage
was spent at a wooden table overlooking the vastness of our Maker's
glorious creation.

From bright sunny days made brighter by the blanket of snow, to
overcast days when the peaks of the nearby mountains were
unviewable, I sat at the table, laptop before me, burning the images
of this landscape into my brain. The scenery worked wonders on my
jammed up writer's veins as words, sacred and profane, came spilling

However, after just a few hours home, in a phone conversation with

a close friend, some new words came spilling forth unbidden. I told
her about how time away on retreat always manages to make me feel
like I am living in a "bigger" world. Returning home always makes me
feel like I am returning to a "smaller" existence. Interesting….if you
look at the words I used in the previous sentence, the word I associate
with the time on retreat is "living" and the word I associate with my
return is "existence." How truly sad!

My good friend then gave me the key word to explain it all. She said,


My time away allowed me to stuff all the baggage of everyday life away

and to see and live a bigger life. Simple tasks like preparing a meal
became holy. Without a dayplanner filled with appointments and
events, I was able to take pleasure in the choices before me. Instead
of "going smaller," I felt more connected to the "bigger life" promised
to all of us.

It didn't take long after the end of the phone conversation for me to

realize that I’d be taking off once again soon, this time to Coeur d'Alene,
Idaho to participate in a retreat weekend featuring theologian Matthew
Fox. The topic of that retreat is Holy Imagination. Along with this
recognition came the realization that "transfiguration" is the key to the
seduction that is this life of faith.

For the Idaho retreat, folks from wildly extreme times and places in

their lives agreed to come together from many cities for an extended
time together. We agreed to bring our entire souls to a place where
we can truly be ourselves with ourselves and with others. We willingly
displayed an honesty with one another that the world seldom sees.
We sang gloriously, we danced wildly, we laughed extravagantly,
we shared holy meals, and we touched one another, physically and

In short, we were transfigured.

And that is the reason we sometimes have crash landings when we

return home. The glories of our personal transfigurations seduce us
and we simply fall in love. My task now is to keep that spirit with me
as I resume my day-to-day life. That, in fact, is the task before all
of us…to recognize that when we open ourselves up to the movement
of the Holy Spirit, our lives become simpler, but bigger as we share
the eternal truth of love. A love so great that God joined us in our
dance here on earth. A love so great that we cannot help but share it
with all those we encounter. A love so great that He gave his only
begotten child so that we might know eternal life. Hallelujah….Amen!


Sandburg’s City of Big Shoulders
breeds violence among the smallest of men
even today.
Walking head down in this burly town
it’s easy to bump into a stranger
and respond only with a grunt.
Perhaps it’s the lingering putrid stench
of livestock entrails on the murder room floor
that time, bleach, water and scrubbing can’t erase
that riles short tempers.
Knives are easy and familiar weapons
as husbands and wives dance
around the kitchen table at dinner
arguing over rent money spent on a quart of beer.
The same quart of beer that last night left
the purple bruise I’ll never see on Momma’s inner thigh.
Hardworking, hardliving men and women
who don’t easily succumb to tenderness
for fear of looking weak in Darwin’s eyes.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Today, just today,
let me float on the water.
Let it carry me where it will
for I am ready for that adventure.
On past the farmer’s field,
beyond the yard where horses play
and dogs run wild as if chased by the wind.
Into the valley where vineyards yield
their sweet pure nectar to man and God.
Then in the sky of impossible blue
decorated with cotton candy clouds,
I spot the soaring and diving eagles and hawks
putting on an aerial circus show
just for me.
Today, every day,
let me thank Him for these gifts
worth noticing.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


The wind whips up little dust tornadoes,
the sky darkens to a colorless shade.
I never learned a whit from a good day
so now I bend my ear to hear the truth.

People rush to their homes holding their scarves
across their nose and mouth so they can breath.
A stench of betrayal seeps from the ground
revealed by the pounding of running feet.

We’re guilty but refuse to wear that name
since dirty fingers point to each of us.
Trying to get lost in the confusion
we go to our dark rooms to pray for light.

But then the sound of grackles in bare trees,
cackling since they’ve witnessed the raw truth
scare us to our knees, tripping and falling,
we pray that in our time we’ll drink His cup.

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Monday, April 02, 2007


Gently, like waves, my memory recedes
from the shore and I struggle with your name,
your face. Some days are like high tide; it’s all
so simple, but then the gray clouds move in.

But I’ll always remember your sweet touch,
those long, slender fingers intertwining
with mine, as we walked along the bright beach.
I may not know you, but please stay by my side.