The Dark Night–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

the dark night of the soul

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck:  for which the theme this week is Peace, Relaxation, Spirituality. I chose to focus on one of the more difficult aspects of the spiritual life, termed by the Spanish Carmelite mystic, St. John of the Cross, as the dark night of the soul. Though it seems counterintuitive, this phase of spirituality can bring about a deep sense of peace.

“Oh, night that guided me more surely than the light of noonday to the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–a place where none appeared. Oh, night that guided me, oh, night more lovely than the dawn, oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, lover transformed in the Beloved!”

St. John of the CrossDark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night

When night is bathed in ebony
and even stars are wont to pierce
through veils of clouds,
you stumble forward,
grasping crumbled walls
that close you in.

Bleak thoughts now pummel you
like angry fists that rage against
injustice. You breathe oppressive air,
musty, stagnant, born of rank suspicion
that your need shall never know
relief, that hunger rests un-sated.

Today there is no morrow—
only haunting memories of days
unfolding without joy, Your faith
betrayed, you open wide your hand
and watch hope slip out between your
fingers, free of empty promises.

Tonight you stand alone,
shrouded by the chill of winter,
without clear vision. Death stretches
out his hand; you reach to take it,
but not before the nightingale sings.

January in the Desert–Jingle’s Poetry Rally

Flowers everywhere....

Image by Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi via Flickr

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Rally:

January in the Desert

I am
a wild strawberry
woven among
low-lying oleander branches,

I am
the fear that brushes
by your body in
the darkness of a dream.

I am
slipping over
mounded slopes

of snow-capped
Santa Rosa mountains
bringing rain
and night.

I slap
the rounded curves of
wind-stroked cheeks
turned skyward.

I am the hummingbird.
I wait outside
your window
with promises of joy.

Darkness is Only a Degree of Light

A flame from a burning candle

Image via Wikipedia


Darkness is Only a Degree of Light






When the year is at its nadir
and darkness overtakes
the light, someone,
lights a

The flame eases into your
consciousness and
you understand
that we were
to see.

Welcome all the children of
Earth. Revel in your need
to join in celebration.
Now’s the moment
to set the world
on fire.



Image by vpickering via Flickr

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Rally: Stop by and enjoy the work of a host other seasoned and upcoming poets.




An Etheree

light and dark
merge into one,
brighten the forest,
eclipse the dawning morn.
Do you understand these words?
I am a woman; you’re a man.
I am a Christian; you don’t believe
in anything you cannot see or touch
or comprehend in terms of science.
Together we are Everyman
who seeks to taste the meaning
of a life unfolding
in obscurity.
Come with me, then.
taste beauty,

Jingle’s Poetry Rally–Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Blessings to All Photo: David Slotto


Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Rally:



Sharp winter chill
(not autumn)

Brilliant sun,
cloudless sky,
crisp grass.

Warm air
escaping lungs
like body-cloud.

Toasty thoughts

Counting blessings,
assuaging guilt:
so many

circling hot coffee cup,
fogs inside.

intense fall color:
dance with me,
with life–
celebrate gifts.

Spirit calls:
give back.

Jingle’s Poetry Rally–“Sunrise on a Plane”

Sunrise (on the way from Gothenburg to Copenhagen)

Image via Wikipedia

Sunrise on a Plane

At earth’s black edge
an artist applies a wash of
orange—wet on wet,
teases color from the center,
adds more water then
works in a pale shade
of blue.

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Rally Week 32

Thursday Poets’ Rally–“Wounds”

A birch—
smooth bark dotted
with eyes—
omniscient voyeur
spying on passersby.
Down its trunk
a scar splays open.
Wide, like a wound
I used to pack with sterile gauze
and normal saline.

(My patient’s name
was Forrest.)

In the gutter, red blossoms
from a nearby
Indian Paint Brush
pile in heaps
like clotted blood.

Forrest’s gash—
the result of a barroom brawl—
or so he’d told me—
never healed.
He didn’t bleed to death.
Just died by the inch,
lost the will to fight
when the woman went off
with his opponent.

The tree has been like this
for years.
Over time some miscreant
continues to inflict like damages
on other branches.

Jingle’s Poetry Rally–“April Eighth”

English: Full-length photograph of the Shroud ...

English: Full-length photograph of the Shroud of Turin which is said to have been the cloth placed on Jesus at the time of his burial. Română: O repoducere fotografică în întregime a Sfântului Giulgiului despre care se spune că a fost folosit pentru a acoperi corpul lui Iisus în timpul înmormântării sale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An article in the Smithsonian
alluded to the Holy
Shroud of Turin.
The image of Christ
seared radiologically
into a burial cloth.
A violent burst of energy.
A life-seed
in a closed space
blowing out boundaries.
Stories of an empty tomb.

Easter comes early
this year.
Daffodils explode in
the front garden,
sheltered by a warm wall.

April eighth,
nineteen forty-four.
A seed plummets to earth,
wrapped in a metal
Ejaculated from heaven,
it burrows into dank soil.
Combusted in another
surge of energy.

Months go by:
a year to the day.
Someone in the
War Department
types the letter on
a piece of onion-skin paper.
Words smudged by an
over-used ribbon tell
the woman to move on with her life.
The child will never call him

Footnote: a few years ago Easter Sunday landed on April 8th, the anniversary of my father’s death. He was killed in WWII when I was 3 months old.

Ear Worms: A Poem for Jingle’s Poetry Rally

I have posted so many heavy poems lately. As a former, longtime hospice nurse who’s had her own near-death experience, it seems so natural to me to focus on death and dying. Both of my novels are serious and deal with themes of loss (and hope and redemption). But, believe it or not, I love to laugh. So today for the rally I decided to post a bit of humor…maybe not the best poetry, but hopefully you’ll enjoy. And to those of you who suffer from ear worms, read on. I think you’ll understand.

 Ear Worms

The diagnosis sounds atrocious.
It hinges on repetition.
Songs that jingle in your head
make you wish that you were dead.

What’s the cause of this disease?
No one knows for certain.
Since the tunes don’t always please
they can leave you hurting.

You just confessed you do obsess
on this catchy melody:
“‘F-R-E-E, that spells free,’
rattles round inside of me.”

Just yesterday it went away,
I didn’t think of it at all
until that damn ad played again.
Don’t you know, it will not end?

“Cognitive itch”—that a son of a bitch,
could it be God’s call?
The message you were meant to get:
“It’s a Small World After All.”

They say that ear worms can’t be fought.
That only makes you angrier.
The more you scratch the more you itch
and bury it in your memory.

There’s not much that you can do
to stop these “aneurhythms.”
Try to sing the whole damn song,
loud and clear, to pass it on.

When the “hum-bug” gets to you
try to find distraction.
until another one pops in.
Then it all begins again.

“Maim That Tune” you may recall,
means you’re normal after all.