The Briarfields
The Poems, III - Selections from Sheer Poetry Revisited

The third section, "Reflections," contains musings on nature, relationships, favorite places, and Christianity. 

"I could not write, were it not for my faith.  I ask God in prayer to give me the words, and in His goodness, He never fails me."


Mayfly wing in slumber;
hummingbird's in flight. 
Waxen sails at sunrise;
waterfall at night.
Ice upon a window;
parchment of an age;
eyes of one near dying;
truths upon a page.
Sister Therese tatting
lacework from a spool,
tenuous as floss silk,
gossamer as tulle.
Veins within her temples
throb a cloistered blue;
coursing thoughts pellucid
meditate on hue,
symmetry, refraction--
mysteries such as these--
God's sheer poetry in
all translucencies.
                                                                                                                      return to poetry index

Asked whether the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus,
Pope John Paul II replied, "The Church has never pronounced itself in this sense.
It has always left the question open . . ."

Because we are Thomas--  
each of us-- 
imprisoned by importunate doubt, 
He left a sign to satisfy;
proof positive, a picture:
His worldly flesh recorded 
by other-worldly means.

Because we are Thomas--
visual creatures--
craving visual truths of cathode ray
or live by satellite,
He left a sign for our own time
(no less for other generations; but
assuredly for this, our obdurate age)

because we are Thomas--
qualifying faith--
that should we choose,
we may yet look upon His face,
His piteous wounds, and--
Thomas freed--rejoice,
"My Lord!  My God!"

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"In 1981, just before Sheer Poetry was published, I was privileged to read some of my work before an audience at Mary Washington College (now UMW) in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Afterward, a coed with tears in her eyes thanked me for 'San Francisco.'  She said it made her realize just how much she missed her home.  Such moments, for me, are unforgettable."


The author at Fort Point, The Presidio, San Francisco, California



It was a wonder to me,
so unlike my Eastern cities
with their angular precision,
granite gray quick-chilled in steel.
There the only grayness
softened folds of shy sky-veiling;
the only chill blew friendly,
salty, softly from the sea.
Pastel confections genteel clustered,
brave on giddy hill heights;
bon-bon buildings gabled, scrolled,
hung red with poppy pots--
while reigning high above loud
bayside sales of shrimps and flowers,
gulls like breathing ivory
soared from steeple gilt to mastheads,
calling regal counterpoint
to clanging cable cars.
It was a wonder to me,
carved of jade and ginger root,
its glittering heart a lump of pure fool's gold.
And I've longed a lifetime homesick
for that shining, lasting wonder,
having shared but one Spring day there,
having posed before the great bridge
like any windblown tourist:  Wide stanced--
braced unconsciously against
the next big quake.

                                                                                                                  return to poetry index


I was an angel before I was born;
my mother told me so.
An aura of leftover stardust
surrounds me, wherever I go.
I may not be pretty, beloved or clever
or rich, and forever
my world may be flat
But I was an angel before I was born;
there's some consolation in that.

                                                                                              The author at age four

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