Shape and Substance

meditations on faith and church

Month: August, 2016


Not the misdeed in the dark, the calculated criminality,
not the cynic’s act of cruelty, the scandal or the shame…
these are not our downfall, Lord, they are clear enough to see;
they offer small temptation to make us break the frame.

But the thousand barely noted little acts of infamy—
small betrayals of the heart, extended hands ignored,
loves dismayed, sleight of poison tongue or stroke of key—
does not each crack the vessel wherein the Light is stored

‘til it shatters, and the Light goes skittering
down the swirling darkness that seems to have no end?
We offer heart, we yearn for hope, we raise our voice to sing
songs too faint to call the Light or make it shine again.

You who are the One Light, in whom the will be found
to make a world the first time: only you can make repair:
You who made us once, now remake us whole and sound
and make a place wherein the act of justice holds our prayer,

‘til the world is right, ‘til hope does not die a-borning,
and peace no more a stranger in the dark and threatening night.
Then teach our lips and tongues to sing the morning
When even dark shall celebrates the coming of the Light.

Four Short Poems

It is early yet

It is early yet,
daylight a distant music,
dream that was and might yet be,
pendulum between antipodes
of night.

It is early yet,
Cold-sharp wind excises
necrotic yesterday. Tomorrow bleeds its way
to birth, newborn and squalling,
a day.

It is early yet
to divine the way
to limn the shape of pleasure, pain,
to hear the melody of fear or faith, and so
I hope.


The slow diminuendo of the dark
begrudges its retreat ere grows the dawn;
while playing at the edges of the night
a cold grey light, at first more hint than song.

Come, daystar, swell to bright crescendo,
echo the rhythmic pulse of ancient way,
as darkness cedes to scarce imagined morning
its load of ache, its hope for coming day.

The Question of the Sun

Cling you to the night?
There is shelter in the comforts of the dark,
where vision dims, and slumber’s anesthesia
slows the beat of pain in mind or heart.

Let go. Release the night. Let go.
These ancient rhythms you will not gainsay.
Dawn’s rays bring even Morpheus to his knees.
Leave darkness to the dead, and greet the day.

And Comes the Sun

Grey silhouettes the dark horizon,
presses on the borders of the morning;
with each moment bolder comes a-borning
new light, new possibilities arising.
Brighter: from each rosy-fingered ray
emerges urgent orange and vermillion
until reluctant clouds dilate, unwilling,
and night gives birth to glory. Soon the day.

Join hawks and doves and sparrows;
toll the ancient tune, song of Helios.
Approaches now the chariot of Eos.
No reticence, no comfort left in shadow.

The Wheel has turned another turn,
And we? We are the stowaways who borrow
this vessel of tomorrow and tomorrow…
See! It is the dawn, and comes the Sun.