Not as Alone as I Think

low section of man standing in forest

is a moose getting up late, I wonder

on my walk along a river’s edge, without another

human soul in sight, acutely aware

my shoes are not made

for running—relieved to find a bird, perhaps

as large as a grouse, rustling

in an abundance of leaves can make

a lot of fuss

this poem about the many ways we need peace to appear, appears in my book called QUIET WATERS

Back Alley Stroll

the alley is lined with pallet composters,

filled with this fall’s dumping

of flowers and trailing vines; a series of uniform

black plastic bins,

and ubiquitous overhead wires—

this is where we live

collectively, and individually

monotone garage doors framed with suspect cameras

suggest a wealth of items under wraps,

despite a hazard of things

left out

a blue chair—decked with dust—leans

against slabs of unused shingles,

a borrowed traffic sign, plus

gently used items marked “free” for anyone wanting

to fix a bike, clean a stroller,

polish off the paint

everywhere, fragments of stories appear at odds

with the frontage, prove irresistible,

become the reason why some of us walk here,


wondering at the declaration of trust in a side of life

that tends to thrive out back, content

with the unfinished

this poem appears in my book Quiet Waters

The Simple Life, Simplified

tree with brunch and green leaves during sunset

A hunger for liberty, a desire

to walk in the light of what is known,

a taste for truth, willing to say

yes and no in equal measure,

these are the basic

ingredients in spiritual


to be shaped into a person who walks in the light of truth: this might be a good enough summary of the disciplined path that is spiritual formation — this poem appears in my book, Quiet Waters

Writing My Name

humpback whale underwater

Did Jonah write his name on the wall

of the belly of the whale,

leave his mark,

press his flesh into the immutable

will of God

in this time the Bible says

he was shut up—

to become who he really was?

Is there somewhere I need to do that: embrace

the will of God in a deeper, more inside-out

way along the path?

We can risk mistaking ourselves for limited human beings. But because we are created in the image of God and because He is the creator of all, including these truly beautiful, mystifying creatures called whales; and because the Bible is full of stories that stretch our limited understanding past marked political or philosophical boundaries, we can rejoice. We can relax. We can take pleasure knowing there is much more going on than we can possibly see, tell or explain. And so, we make our mark. We live our lives. And we don’t really know how big a splash that will make, do we? Until someone reads our story, and asks – what about that? This poem appears in my book, Quiet Waters.

In the Square

crop person filling bottle with water from drinking fountain

A medicant beggar

in a town square, a medieval figure

seeks charity and finds when people

give him the time of day,

a dollar or sandwich to get by on, something

shifts in their eyes, their face:

they walk away, or sit for a while, changed, more

              at home with being charitable—

with rising hope,

perhaps, there is another way

to live, to love in the light that shines

both on this man with the gentle voice

and the glass towers

around him that he draws them from

like so much water flowing, running

to the well

a historical reversal, a moment at the crossroads,

as faith seeks its centre, asks for what

it needs—

comes into the open.

There are people who humble us by the way they live their lives. Their simple acts. They way they approach ordinary tasks with extraordinary patience and awareness of what might matter in that moment; the way they connect from their core, with the world around them and bless it with God’s love by doing so. This poem celebrates that. You can find it in my latest book of poems, “Quiet Waters.”