A Tuesday Examen

lily pads





Scattered across lonely seas

dwell the lilies of desire.

Dotted between the balancing


green are other frondish delights 

with fingers extended on palms

upraised, deterred by nothing


but the gentle floating away of

newly made ripples, starting

from a center and pushing out


to the edges where the shoreline

awaits to receive what waves may come.

They have made big what once


was small, white-capped wonder

from still and never-sunken petals.

The end exhumes the beginning


but little beginnings brought

such proud endings, humbled

by endless sandy sleep. Here


God is waiting.

God is watching.

God is cooking fish. 

waves crashing









Lily: www.parentdish.com

Crashing waves: www.123rf.com


A Monday Examen

There is no way to distinguish

the place where the radiance of evening

touches the face of God.

Just fingers of grace-soaked light

long, drawling and sure,

that pull at the last, dark places

and weed them out of the heated ground

to die quietly in the burning

breath of love, and then

to live again.

radiance of evening

A Sunday Examen

tree sap

God’s tears like sweet nectar fall

in swollen rivulets down the back of my life.

The words of the day jumbled in

tumbling silence portray what little

is left to say from one with too much to say.

So I do what should be done

at the brink of evening. I draw the shutters

on a well-muscled mouth housing                                                                                                   

too many pointless words and


Image from www.flickr.com

A Saturday Examen

baptismal font









Let the baptismal waters drown this insubstantial

love and choke the complexities of my lostness.

Cleanse my spiritual palette and don

the insignificance of wayward wants

upon your crested waking.

Splash your drops of salvation, dampened perfection,

on this tired brow, furrowed from wrongdoing

and convince a soul, drawn in ink

of the erasable foes of night.

Evening examen-ate

evening compline

Rooting down inside the soil of today’s plantings,

what is there to find of nourishing value

to those forced to hunt for food?

Will my table be full of happy gleanings,

the imperishable crumbs of imperfect bread

dipped in the eternal whimsy of                 Photo: www.trappist.net

God’s good thoughts?

Will those left knocking outside

the door of my own inner garden

remain in hungered silence?

Or, will the gardener open up

the squeaky gate that leads to nowhere

and feed paupers on a king’s repast?

If only that can be found,

then this has been a good day.


Beannacht (Blessing)

John O'Donohue

As I’ve mentioned about a thousand times, I’m possessive of a deeply Celtic, mystical spirit and as such, am drawn to others of similar ilk. Irish Catholic poet, writer and Hegelian philosopher, John O’Donohue (1956-2008) is one such kindred spirit. At the risk of sounding crass, to read O’Donohue is to make love with words. His facility with nuance, the numinous and near, the transcendent and tame, of the thin places of the world is second to none.

The following piece is one of my favorites. I’ve used this in liturgy many times and return to it on almost any occasion just to speak the words that, in themselves, bless in the saying of them. Read it once quietly. Read it twice more quietly. Read it out loud a third time. Finally, let it read you.

Then, wait. You will not be disappointed.


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,                                                                                                      
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.


Picture: www.garyverderamo.com