APRIL 10, 2019: REPORT

April 19, 2019: REPORT


Here in Vermont, for instance, it’s Spring. 

A robin sings in the scraggly pines

next to the drive. The sun rises through deep

pink cloud, so rain coming. Daffodil spikes,

free at last from the long weight

of snow, have pushed up through the mass of flat

leaves out by the mailbox.The dog says 

a rabbit, or something, under the yews.

The house smells like fresh coffee. The ink flows

easy, like the inconsequential

run-off brook through the woods beside the house.

The house still stands.



This was put together from a collection of emails exchanged by a group of older women after the synagogue shooting.



Let us be rivulets forming in the rain—

not a road that horrors walk upon.

We melt, we sink, our face slides off our bones.

We have no words, only tears and silent prayer.


We cannot become the road the horrors walk upon.

Remember: the magnitude of solidarity is a resurrection of massacred faith.

There are no words, only tears and silent prayer

for that temple, the store, the church, another school.


Solidarity is a kind of resurrection of faith

in rain on the windows and little girls playing

around a temple, a grocery store, a church, a school.

Let us not collapse to the ground. Look—


rain on the windows and little girls playing,

yellow chrysanthemums in the grey light.

We  must not collapse to the ground;

we must move vibrant through this year of dying.


Yellow chrysanthemums shine in the gray light,

a flock of crows flies against the gray sky,

vibrant, through the dying of the year

the way a leaf is picked up by the wind.


A flock of crows against the gray sky

melts and sinks. We rise on our bones

the way leaves are picked up by the wind,

the way rivulets form in the rain.

The Mary Poems, Part Four



The wife of Zebedee mends the nets–

her hands as rough as a fisherman’s hands.

My husband is too old, she says,

to go in the boat alone.

It is a wondrous thing, she says,

to go in a boat at night.

My sons will not return, she says,

and cuts a cord with her yellow teeth.

Our sons will not return.

But then she laughs and ties her knots:

They’ve promised me a golden crown.


My firstborn took my bread in his hands,

blessed it and tore it and gave it his name.

My bread, in my mouth, the flesh of my child.

And we sang, and the men went out.

After they had gone, we washed the plates and bowls and swept the room.

When there was nothing left in there,  I came out here to watch the moon.

She is empty.

A white hole in the sky.

I am a hole in earth.

Once I held the waters–oceans, rivers, the fountains and wells, every drop of dew–

Now I am empty.

Now I have done.



My son.

Fruit of my womb.

They condemned, betrayed and nailed–

my son,

my firstborn son.

Forgive?  Forgive?

Rebels gasp on their crosses,

soldiers kneel in the dust

tossing dice for the tunic–

can their mothers


My son hangs

and promises paradise

to innocents duped by power,


here I stand.

You, Herod.

You, Pilate.

You, Chief Priest and Council,

all timid and zealous for your laws–

I curse

your laws.

I curse your power.


By all the blood that women bleed,

by all the screams,

by all the fear and bruising,

by water and fire and stone,

by Adam’s skull,

this ground filling and filling

with blood–

The heavens are silent.

His Father in heaven

is silent.

Or he is dead.

It is all the same.

But I have spoken.

I thirst, but not for wine,

hunger, but not for bread.

Once I magnified eternity,

now nothing

but ravage and wrong.

My son.

Our body, broken.

All the wine is sour.

All the water, salt.


So many nights I have watched with the moon;

so many times, alone.

The moon is too silver, too bright.


should not be so beautiful.

The olive blossoms

should not smell so sweet.

The wind should not

touch my face so softly,

so softly.


In my dark house

I am making bread.

We shall go to the tomb

when the cock crows in the garden,

when the sun has pushed aside the stone.


~after David Weinstock

If you won’t tell how I cried,
I won’t tell how you left.
You won’t tell my raging, either,
how I blamed you for everything:
my sister’s dying, the terrorists,
war, cancer and pain, blindness,

So you won’t tell
how I slammed doors, broke goblets,
made a fool of myself every time
I remembered. And I won’t tell how
quiet you were, how you wouldn’t
turn back when I called.

I won’t tell
of the blank, the emptiness
of the faceless winter sky
with its perfect stillness of stars,
the hollowness of the laughter
at feasts, the blandness of Rilke
and Bach.
You mocked me
with happinesses, with sunrises
and hymns, but I won’t tell.
You won’t tell how I tried,
and later, how I stopped trying,
believing as fervently in your absence,
and I won’t tell

how it amazes me
that people still fall in love,
that somebody in that shabby
brown house practices Beethoven’s
piano sonatas with all the windows open,
that strangers dig through the rubble
with bare hands, over and over,
trying to pull strangers back to life.
And especially I won’t tell

how you returned,
how the stories went on,
how the grass grew
green again and again after the snows,
the days lengthened, the chicks hatched
and the moon rose in a thin
white shard.



Remember living in the red squirrel’s heart?
You feel her necessity when the first leaves fall.
You can recall the rabbit’s silence,
you dream the hunger of bears and bees.

Remember when you saw through spider’s eyes,
when you soared with vulture’s wings?
Remember breaking the surface of the sea,
breaching and blowing and slapping your flukes?

You were once a pasture oak–
brown cattle took shelter in your shade.
And once you were a yellow dog
searching the midden for bones.

Your mycelium has threaded the forest floor,
and once your shaggy mane
pushed up through decay that was your food.
You know you’ve been decay.

You’ve condensed in the tumult of a cloud,
sparked above a smoky fire.
You’ve known the cold of rain on stone,
You’ve dried and browned and burned.

You will lay your eggs in shallow ponds
and learn the taste of mud.
At sunrise, some late summer,
you will learn to spin a web.

Remember when you were the scent
of marigolds, of corn.
Remember being grass–
all the winter long you hunger after green.


–and do you remember the night the long rain stopped?
We woke to silence, and moonlight through the high window.
No sound but the animals breathing in their sleep–
–and the owls—

It was so hard to wait
but when the dove did not return
you worked open the swollen latch
and we pushed the ladder out.
I shooed away the chickens–
all those chickens underfoot.

You insisted on going first
even though your rheumatism was bad–
and I came down right behind you
with my knees not so much better.
Soft wet dirt, all the swamp stink,
but not a cloud in sight.

On top of the hill, that one tree
–Olive–with little leaves unfolding,
beginnings of buds where new olives would be–

The children crowded down behind.
Everything that could fly flew;
and the mice and monkeys, squirrels, possums,
horses, camels, cats and dogs.
Stones everywhere, like bones;
and bones, so many bones.

I scattered the seeds I’d saved on the slick and blackened ground.
You made a pile of stones, went back in and fetched a lamb, a calf.
The sun warmed my face–
We brought fire from the little lamp
while the bow shimmered there, hanging there–

Somehow the freedom of it–
so strange even now remembering it, believing it–
knowing that we are the ones–
the making and mending, the losing, yielding,
how it all comes out–

So soon the olives bloomed, blossoms fell,
little seeds grew up to grain.
We made wine from the grapes;
apples ripened red, so sweet,
on every clean-picked twig the nub of next year’s fruit;
in each white heart one strange and impeccable star.

March 24, 2003


This is the Light surrounding the smallness of the engendering explosion,
shining behind the sun, darkening the stars,
flashing in the lingering raindrop on the unfolding
olive leaf carried swift through the clearing sky,
glancing from the stone knife trembling
over the heart of the bound and plighted child,
pulling and driving the fretting dancing
slaves through the desert and the sea.

This is the night of trumpets sounding in the high places,
in the low places, waking the Earth  between,
every creature rising up, winging down
through the old darkness singing
one word, one word, one word.

The flaming sword is broken,
the tree of life spills her fruit into our open hands;
the life is poured out on the ground,
smeared on the door for ever.
The Watcher’s work is done.

This is the night Grandfather Adam rises
from his grave beneath the place of skulls,
he dances with Grandmother Eve in their garden.
We are remade with new breath and the dust of stars.
We dance together, all together
the dance of the bees and the flame.

This is the Light beckoning
from the doorway of the stable in the rock,
blazing fast and fierce through the gray places of all created time,
spilling red and warm from the cup He holds between His trembling hands,
dazzling and glittering around the tomb’s heavy seal
in the deepest night of Earth,
burning passageways in the dark:
one path for every soul.

A shorter version of this poem was published in the now-defunct magazine “The Other Side.”  It had been published in “The Living Church” earlier, but the editor of that did not even notify me of its publication–and would not give permission for republication without being credited.   “The Other Side” editor  considered that a justice issue–so she published it again.  I’m still grateful to her.  Interestingly enough, “The Other Side” is one of only two places I’ve been published that actually paid me.  The other was another radical Christian magazine.  Justice for poets!!!!