Cold Air of January

Covered in winter clouds
light rain falls on the valley,
dripping from bare trees
to the hard skin of concrete.
I count prayers in tens,
using my fingers for a rosary
as I look out over the rooftops
to smoke rising among
shrouded evergreens.
I remember my mother
bearing the burden long ago
on the bluff above Spuyten Duyvil,
seeing her happiness
from the warmth
of a woolen blanket
and my father’s smile.
We’re still together
though with different faces,
having dropped a few skins
in the journey across time.
The river, the cobblestones,
the cold air of January
are with me now
as light rain falls
and daylight rises.
I come perfectly still
for just one moment
and in this pause
there is joy.




photograph by Rebecca Hynes


















Reading of “Cold Air of January” with music by Coyote Oldman


Temple of Your Heart

Tender is the birth of joy.
Though the lies of fear disturb,
innocence will not betray us.
As we move from dark to light
look within and see what rises –
that ray of kindness
in the temple of your heart
will surely save us all.



photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen


















Reading of “Temple of Your Heart” with music by Maryliz Smith


Brave Horses

Quietly night slips away
into the western peace
of starlight and dreams.
As day rises with bruised faith
the shadows of discontent
can consume the light
yet in winter dark
brave horses
await their riders
bearing a new earth
yearning to be born.



photograph by Doruk Yemenici
















Reading of “Brave Horses” with music by Mickey Hart


Flame in Darkness

a kaddish for Tony Kennell


There is healing in the tide
and the energy beside the sea
yet I’m on short rations here
in the gray light of winter dawn.
The rain soaked streets
add to the melancholy
but self-pity is a waste,
so faithless to the many
who walked before.
So I go on lighting a fire
for all who despair,
one flame in the darkness
for those without friends
that none may perish alone.



photograph by Metin Ozer





















Reading of “Flame in Darkness” with music by Steely Dan


Healing of the Nations

On a cold November morning
the sounds of the wind
and rushing tide awaken me
amidst the silent trees.
Winter here is closing in
and I must find new footing.
The grief of the land
is quiet, unassuming,
so I let myself drop
into the deep earth
where the ancestors wait,
chanting their welcome
to this wandering son.
Heka ho my grandfather cries,
and smiling my grandmother
casts the runes of what must be.
Nothing is wrong she says,
only falling leaves
and the movement of wind
across the water.
Travel where you will
but remember this sanctuary
where the healing of the nations
goes ever on and on.



















Reading of “Healing of the Nations” with music by Gillian Welch