Posted in Musings

Indiferencia Se Mata – The Quiet in the Land

My good friend, Verle, may he rest in peace, had a saying that he learned from his Latino friends that he would share often as we would strive to work outside in the West Virginia wilderness within the great buzzing clouds of gnats.

“Indiferencia se mata.”

“Indifference kills them.”

In other words, if you ignore the gnats, they won’t bother you.

Now there is no question in my mind that Verle’s mental capacity far outstripped my own so maybe it worked for him. Though he still would wear a bug net over his head when he was working outside. But in all honesty I really do think he reached a point where even in the midst of a buzzing cloud, the gnats had ceased to exist, at least for him.

I am wondering if perhaps the above adage might be worth applying to the seemingly endless negative rhetoric streaming from a certain White (Supremacist) House. (Or to any such useless drivel). In this age of the 24/7 news cycle and our ability to respond in an instant through social media to anything deemed disagreeable, it is far too easy to give attention to that which probably should be ignored.

Hear these words from Helen Keller:

“It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.”

So the question becomes, what or where or to whom are we expending our limited energy and resources?

Sometimes I wonder if our initial response is simply to alleviate our guilt at not being able to take the necessary steps towards lasting change within or without.

There, I wasn’t silent. I said something. I’ve done my part. Now on to the next tweet. Hey you, asshole, learn to drive!

Hmm, I wonder. Each day is an opportunity to become a better person, and to the best of our limited ability, to make the world around us a better place.

Am I becoming a better person? Am I treating the people around me with kindness and respect? Am I becoming less of a jerk? Am I gentler with my myself and others? Am I helping to make this world a better place?

If, at the end of the day, I can answer yes to these questions, then for that day at least I can say that I am on the right track.

I wonder what would happen to me and the world around me if I would spend more time in prayer and praise than I do in reacting to yet another ignorant comment or bit of negative rhetoric.

Christ have mercy.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

The Silence of Winter

the hum of life did not cease.

it is simply that i was
insulated from its cadence
by the cold.
now, in the world’s warming,
when windows are raised to let in
the cool night air,
my ears are opened to
forgotten sounds.

in the silence of winter,
one must listen closely to
the growing seed.

the flower opens.
the visitor is welcomed.
outside my window, i hear the
warm buzz of bees.

Posted in The Sunday Driver: Life in the Slow Lane

Struck Dumb

there is still so much i want to say
so much i want to share
the conversations
play on endlessly in my brain

yet my fleeces remain dry
the venues i sang in have all closed
my phone calls are not returned
my inbox remains empty
the podium is occupied
the microphone given to another

my words are thrown back in my face
and suddenly somehow i am the one in the wrong
my stories remain unfinished
while others form within the maelstrom within

i see what is incomplete
rooms in the midst of renovation
the refuse of life
projects left undone
art that i must pack away because there is no place for them here

my body left weak from a week of sickness
my mind ravaged by another betrayal in a long line of them

why i must work quietly here
i know not
but that is what i am being told

to be silent
to wait
to feed on the bread of life
to let that be my work

out of that labor will come my voice

Posted in Prayers

Dodging Raindrops

I am still not a friend to my brokeness.
I am too often a spectator to my life.

I continue to be uncomfortable with my silence.

I spend too much time dodging raindrops.

Posted in The Sunday Driver: Life in the Slow Lane

Thoughts from a Retreat of Silence



The windows shine with a warm glow.
I am the only one here.
The light welcomes me into an empty room filled with the silence.

Crossing over to the Lodge l leave wet footprints on the concrete before the door.
Though they will fade by the morning, for a moment they were here, brief witness to my passing.

The storm brought me here,
sent me down on tired wings to alight within the lee of silence to rest for awhile.
Before I fall asleep, I hear, outside in the night, above the noise of the wind and rain, the cries of geese flying south for the winter.


The rain on the roof and against the walls makes me think there are others here, patrolling like invisible sentries, guardians of a war-weary heart.

You never promised me that there would be no sleepless nights.
You simply said you would stay awake with me.


It is a difficult thing to wean myself of the things that do not bring me abundant living.

Sitting in silence gets me nowhere.
That is its purpose.

Posted in The Sunday Driver: Life in the Slow Lane

Going Dark


I will be on retreat this weekend.

It is a silent retreat.

No internet.

Silence and retreat are tough for me.

Losing that wireless umbilical is too.

I keep thinking about what I should take or what project to work on so I can stay busy.

That inner churning need is the precise reason why I need to be on retreat.

You would think after all of the inner work I have done I would be easy with myself. But I am not.

So I am going dark for a few days in the hope that my divine spark will be rekindled.

It is still a difficult thing to simply.

Posted in Songs

Monday Monday Song #21 – The Sound of Silence

(Because all of us need to be
quiet sometime).

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree, Poems

Audio Files


In a world of noises and noisemakers it is easy to pay undue attention to the loudest at the expense of the quiet.


Not everything that rises to the surface is worth an attentive ear.

Turning down the volume is not enough and is nigh impossible in this day and age.

Rather, one must develop an ear sensitive to subtlety, in tune to that which exists at a depth few explore.

The deeper one goes the more the waters fill the ears and the noises above dissipate.

Dive then.
Do not be afraid of the lack of oxygen.
There is something greater here below which will become your air.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree

In the Quietness

in the quietness of the trees
i knelt on bloodied knees
and collapsed upon the ground
agonized alone

then nothing broke the silence
i rose up renewed
and moved off back down the hill
the leaves rustled in my hair

November 1, 1987