Let Everything Happen To You

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,

then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,

go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like a flame

and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.

Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.

You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Ranier Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 59

Translated by Joanna Macy

Continue reading

Easter Poem

Through the arched colonnade

Of brick and glass

The sky draped, a cotton sheet

Of Easter blue

Forgotten on some larger being’s

Laundry line

Shuddering in the silent breeze.

The light ran down the glass

In golden waterfalls

Pooled into a thick, caustic shadow

Beneath the greying elms

Hunched into their years 

Of watchkeeping

And whispering to their knees.

And where were you, reader,

When the first fingers of their minds

Crept up out of the wound of earth

And drank it in?

Continue reading


Candlemas is a church feast with a long history whose roots at a later point tangle with both Groundhog Day and the feast of St. Brigid. Officially it is called the Feast of the Presentation, commemorating Christ’s presentation in the temple with both Anna and Simeon as witness.

The guiding image of Candlemas, as Simeon so beautifully sings, is Light – Christ’s “light to lighten the nations.” My recent book contains two poems centered around Candlemas, and I though in honor of the feast today I would share the second one with you.

Candlemas II

Flame-thrown light tells you

      what to do with this,

a labyrinth of interiority.

It will guide you out of 

      the sharp edged shadows

the rotten boards hidden 

      under the rug of strangeness

the creeping vine of doubts.

You throw salt over the side 

     of a crumbling wall

and you allow your eyes to become two 

    clear bells in the dark.

And candlelight reaches up 

    towards the night

as instinct tells you to raise your eyes 

    as the evening dusks

as a wisp of sparrows curl like smoke 

above the trees.

Flight to Egypt

Here in my home state of Oregon, wildfires have become enormously destructive the past few weeks and caused many to flee their homes. I’ve been meditating this week on two related images: the burning bush (which in traditional iconography is seen as a symbol of Mary) and the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt. This poem is written on behalf of, and mostly from the perspective of, all those who must flee home – whether because of war, wildfire, or any other danger.

Continue reading

A Year of Pilgrimage

“My deepest vocation is to be a witness to the glimpses of God I have been allowed to catch.”

Henri Nouwen

When I began this poetry challenge in Summer 2019, the subtitle I had in mind was “A sacred journey through an ordinary year.” In many ways, this year was indeed filled with the ordinary stuff of life – like many of you, I worked two jobs to make ends meet, worried and schemed about the future, struggled with a mental health diagnosis, made new friends.

In other ways, however, it turned out to be a landmark year, including of course a worldwide pandemic, the largest civil rights movement in decades, and the complete reorganizing of our collective lives. I never could have expected the way that poetry would become, rather than an escape, a way to fully live through and experience all that this year would bring. 

One year later, the Nouwen quote above still feels like the most appropriate way to describe how I view myself as an artist. I’m incredibly grateful for the gifts I have been given in this past year, and I hope in some small way these poems can be a gift to you as well. There are SO many I haven’t shared with you yet, and I’m extremely excited to be compiling them into a book that will be available by October 1st!

Even though this poetry challenge has come to a close, none of the opportunities presented to me each day have changed. Every moment is still transparent with possibility. Each person I meet is still a fellow-traveler with a story to tell.

The question remains: Can I remain open to being changed?




Pause now
and give names
to all that
encircles you
this day.
at the feet
of your own
Do not give
your life
a hollow
or forget
to bow
in that keen
between the thing
that is you
and the
sharp slant
of silk-web
to it all.




You never say, Enough

What I have given, I have given.

You never tire of pouring yourself

out for the life of the world.

Day after ten thousand day

we grow weary, we run dry

and you are still our Abundance,

still your Infinity serves us

with a towel tied gladly

about your waist.


This is the meaning of your glory:

Love which begets love, Power

which stoops in perfect humility,

delighting in the raising.

It presses in daily upon us

and all my heart cries out for you

and (I confess) mixed

with adoration pities you, which

only shows my poverty.


Oh humble love, wider

than the heavens!

Oh, the bliss of someday loving

half as well as we are loved!