Posted in Musings and Reflections

Depression 1.3 – Searching for the Soul Doctor

God’s truths often arrive in strange packages.

Like the song by Foreigner I have been blasting on my truck’s stereo this past week.

It’s called Soul Doctor.

I need to see the soul doctor
Before the fever begins
You know I’m searching for the soul doctor
When love is wearing thin
Doctor soul is in.”

Depression is not simply something in the mind. It is also what the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross described as “the dark night of the soul.”

So on hard days, I’m searching for a soul doctor.

Rather than crawling into a mental hole or pretending everything is okay, I am learning to pray and accept that I am never alone.

Jesus promised to never leave or forsake me. And often, after these dark nights of the soul, joy does come in the morning.

Which means I can hang a sign outside my heart that says, “Dr. Soul is in….”

Posted in Prayers and the Sacred

Dead Leaf Hanging Lonely


i dont want
you to see

there is a
balance in
letting you

cut away
that which
is dead
in me

and the
that when
you look
at me

all you
see is

(Featured image with kaleidescope filter #GodsView)

Posted in Prayers and the Sacred

Questions of “They”


pray tell me who are the “they” so often portrayed as the haters? if “they” do exist outside of oneself, then doesn’t their power grow through acknowledgement? are “they” real, these nameless critics? or are “they” simply a creation of a self still lacking that fundamental joy and love within, given flesh and bone until “they” become real? are “they” only the nasty chattering voices we hear inside our heads?

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Mental Shrieks


the voices cry inside my head.
Their always yacking never ceasing ignorant speech
through the corridors of my mind.
I am sorely wounded, gasping mental sores ooze forth, scarlet agonized whispering unanswered questions.

Then one Voice shouts above the rest, shattering the others into shards of glass as when an hourglass falls sharply,
   “Be still.”

No longer the echo of misguided memories,
but one Voice singing

Written December 3, 1984 (age 17)

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

The Space of My Neglect

On this cool fall morning with the taste of wood smoke on my tongue
and the nip of Old Man Winter on the wind, I am pulling up the dead
yellow stalks of Jefferson Grass that I sprayed in the summer.

They chose to grow in the space of my neglect behind the cottage
beside the stonewall until I grew tired of seeing them in the morning
when we pulled back the curtain of the bedroom window,
like the unwelcome and exotic species that grow in me
suddenly revealed by thought or conversation
and I go on another inner killing spree.

Honesty and self-love are at times uneasy bedfellows.
In the air above me, two ravens chase a hawk from the meadow.

Rolling Ridge, WV – October 24, 2003

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Let Your Passion Be Compassion

it is so easy to respond in kind
to those whose aura of negativity
is merely a reflection of a
miserable interior

who have not seen fit to take
the Socratic Oath and begin the
long hard work of knowing self

but knowledge is not synonymous
with love nor should it be
to see what is within and
fall in love with it is a
beautiful and terrifying thing
it is the beginning of the
fulfillment of the greatest

yet to end at self and forget
neighbor is narcissism
what follows must be an
education in empathy

let your passion be compassion
do not allow the talking heads
to separate you from others
by their predictions of
terror and woe

perfect love casts out fear
become a perfect lover
wrap your arms around your
heart and know that there is
one beating in everyone around
you whether or not it throbs
in time to the rhythm of joy

let your life be a reflection
of your contemplation
love the unlovely
for you once were unlovely too
until you took the oath
to know and love

share your discovery
do not hide it away
then you will see it grow
beyond all imagining
each day will begin with
sowing and end with a sea
of healing trees stretching
to the horizon as far as
your eye can see

Posted in The Sunday Driver: Life in the Slow Lane

Being Alone

First come feelings of doing – writing in a journal, thoughts, poems, songs – and one must resist and simply be, do nothing (and everything) and simply be, silent, for a few moments.

Then come feelings of selfishness – I’m being selfish by being alone, anti-community, and guilt at wanting to be alone.

Then there feelings of power – pride, what I must do when I’m done here.

And if one is outside in nature, as I begin to relax and open to the sounds, and the quiet – there are fears of snakes and spiders, the nuisances of bugs and ants crawling through my hair.

But if one continues being alone,
there comes in time
the peace
that only comes

(1 Kings 19:11-13)

Journal entry May 1, 1991

St. Anselm’s Abbey
Washington DC