Poetry and Prayer (2022)

Maybe because I am Irish, it seems to me that poetry and prayer come from the same place.

Afternoon Music is 677 pages of new poems, written between 2015 and 2020. Included for the first time are many, many photographs.

And still
March 26, 2018

She is married, and
there is a man
who would seduce her,
in a friendly way, for years now
and still.
And she likes him and likely always will.
but she says no.  She keeps her vow.
For her own sake she keeps her vow
and likely always will.

Though Puzzled
July 12, 2015

Lord, grant me a fuzzy mind
that sees partitions as soft,
permeable and oft
cut through with smugglers’ trails,
shared recipes and shared tales,
that I might be, though puzzled, kind.

Because it will let you see the pictures in color, because I get a better royalty, because it saves trees and because it allows for instant delivery, I recommend the Kindle or epub version.

Afternoon Music for Kindle

Afternoon Music as epub ebook for Apple and other ereaders

Afternoon Music in paperback


Cover of book Diving For Light

Diving for Light (2016)

Sun Light
January 8, 2009

Like soft sun light
is your blessing.

Which of Us
March 25, 2011

Which of us, as the war came on –
I in that tunic, you in your bright gold dress –
which of us turned to the other and said
“After this night, however we may be dead,
when we are born again:

may we find each other then,
awaking in another dawn…”
and which of us said “Yes!”

May 8, 2011

the earth is threaded through
with light.

To the Bay of Bengal
May 1, 2011

I look down at that muddy river
flowing through Kolkota
to the Bay of Bengal
and all I see is your face
whom in a few minutes I shall really see
And in a moment I must put on my mask
and hide every bit of me

so that no one can trace
how always, all ways,
you flow through me.

No one –
and you least of all.

Heart Left Open (2008)

More than 600 pages of poetry, Heart Left Open is from the same heart-source as the novels.  The cover photograph is by Bulgarian-German photographer Radmila Krieger.

In my evening I am folding a package of palm leaves 
so that in your morning you can unfold them 
and find the sun 

 It is a craft we learned in that school: 
moving hands above someone beloved 
feeling the energy rise from them and 
(instead of letting it gather, to become either desire or movement) 
spreading it softly through the body-aura 
as combing hair spreads the oil of the skin to all of the long strands. 
 Done right it lets the recipient sleep, 
but sleep refilled, untangled, and wake alive and glad – 
so they taught us in that school where we learned this craft.

German composer Christiane Strothmann was kind enough to set a number of the poems to music and perform them. You can hear them on Soundcloud.

Praying for Others is about the different ways people pray to benefit others. People need to find a way to pray that matches their nature.  As religions mature, they accommodate more and more personal styles.   

If another religion’s style of prayer appeals, it is usually not necessary to leave the religion you love.  Research may find that same style forgotten in the history of your congregation.  When I was doing my dissertation I noticed that most religions have most styles of prayer somewhere in their “attic.”  Judaism, for instance, has monasticism in its history.  Christianity has both personal devotion and a vast mysticism. 

It is my hope this book introduces some of those styles of prayer.  It has been available since 2003.