Thursday, December 31, 2009

soft snow encloses
the world
in the silence
of new year's regrets

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The First Creche

The fire light
casts its soft glow
on Mary's face
as she prepares
for the birth of her son.

The animals wait too
in quiet anticipation
for the new baby
that will soon be sharing
their manger.

Scholars watch the stars.

Shepherds sleep in the cold.

In another place
and another time,
brought together by worship
and sacrament,
a poor man named Francis
gets on his knees
and worships the Savior.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Skeleton trees stretch their gnarled branches
to the cold grey sky,
reaching their arthritic fingers
past the falling snow.

Our joints ache.

winter resurrection
a friend's face
on Google chrome

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pale and cold,
I dream of the tropics
and stare at the ceiling--
winter blood test. 
Pale and cold,
I warm my hands
on the red mug--
winter blood test.
pale and cold
dreams of tropical islands
blood test 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spiritual Flu

Just when the ride becomes easy,
just when I become complacent
God has me on my mental knees
begging Jesus and the saints
for mercy and prayers.

As my world spins and twists
out of control,
I  grasp in blind panic
for something solid--
something to stop the world
from whirling
and me
from vomiting up
my center of gravity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The joyous days

of past Novembers

ring silently

in my waiting heart

as the early chill

deepens in this


of early goodbyes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

black cat leading me,
half asleep, to the food bowl
midnight snack

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where are the stars, Lord?
They used to hover
in the sky,
scintillating, moving,
as though alive

Huddled together
in numberless throng
like angels
orchestrating an eternal song.

They are not there--
I've searched for them at night.
We've frightened them away
with self-centered, artificial light.

We animate our nights with
artificial glare
until we can not see
that You are there.

Teach us to see the stars again, Oh Lord.
Help us to find them
and our faith

Holy Soul

Weep if you can.
Mourn if you will,
but pray,

Pray for me
for I will be gone
to fight my demons
one last time.

To do the work
I would not do
on earth.

I cowered in fear
from my own imperfections,
preferring instead
to hold them to myself
like a tattered blanket
soiled and torn;
useless yet oddly comforting.

I will not be able to
pray for myself

and yet I will know.

I will know
to the core of my being that
I am not worthy
to come under His roof.

I will know
like a thirsting man
yearns for water
that I need God.

The illustration for this poem is All Soul's Day by William Bouguereau. To purchase this picture, and see others by Bouguereau, visit the Art Renewal Center.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life's Laundry

large load
high heat

heavy duty
extra soiled


Friday, October 9, 2009

the years disappear
like the leaves
on the trees
called by the bright
afternoon sun
i remember
afternoons in the park
bikes and guitars
walks and talks and time
stretched ahead of us
into the summer
of eternity

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Red, gently applied over yellow
with a dry brush.
Cold apple.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Facebook Falls Silent

Facebook falls silent when a friend is dying.

Somehow the banal updates
about the torturous nature of daily chores
seem disrespectful
when multiple communities
on 2 coasts
are in deep mourning
over a life--
so well lived--
that will end
way too soon.

We all are saying the same things
to him
and to each other.
Prayers are being said,
novenas offered.

Memories resurface;
regrets are mulled over.

Time has been cruelly compressed.

we see
the end
of the road.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The News

After the news
we held our loved ones long and hard
as if to make them real
and remind us we were still alive.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Winter falls.
Cold surrounds
and tightens
her icy fingers
on our souls.

Chilling raindrops
are lost in the
inky darkness
slowly seeps
under the windows and doors
that we have determinedly
shut against it
and we are powerless to
stop the advance.

We put the kettle to boil,
wrap ourselves in blankets,
curl up with a book
and wait.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Edge of Night

I lie awake
in restless dreams.

I watch the
pairs of people.

Two with red hair and black hats,
walk quickly away.

I wonder
how will they hide themselves
with their flaming hair
peaking rebelliously out of the their charcoal fedoras.

I follow people
through confusing corridors
and notice
they are dressed
from another time
and place.
Refusing to come out
from behind
their inflexible homogeneity,
they will not join *this* group.

I see two brothers, unnaturally attached
in inexplicable ways.
I ask
how is one
born of the other
and never get
an answer.

I watch the pairs
of people.

I watch
from the


Curled up in a ball,
my vulnerable spine
I am
in transition.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Voice

My life lies
at the bottom
of a large, cast iron pot.

I stir
and stir
over a   s l o w  fire
for decades of years

until I discover

the thick, burned,
elemental crust

that is

my voice.
I weave
my weird

back and forth
weft and warp

hardened by fear
my own engineer

i discover with horror
i'm stuck in here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Adolescent Time

September is the adolescent time.
Hot one day, and cold the next, 
it slams the door of summer
on our eager faces
before coming back
and inviting us
to swim.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

crying in alarm
at mother's abrupt parting
a baby bird sings

Thursday, August 27, 2009

small and brown
in God's ecosystem
tiny bird

Originally published March 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

As I lie by the pool
the thoughts pour in
with the hot summer sun
barely muffled
by the sound of running water
and screaming children.

The tiny waves beckon softly
and I walk in
to the water
made for me--
caressing, gentle, temperature-perfect
and I am grateful
for the now. 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Colors of Aging

After years of pretending,
she grows her hair gray
to show the world
what it has done,
like Jackie Kennedy
who wanted everyone to see
the blood
of her husband
on her
pink suit.


Someone is stoking the furnace.
The coal has been shoveled in--
little by little-- all summer
and is now being lit with a heavy hand.

The world is surreal
in the wavy mirage
that is the final time
between relaxation
and responsibility.

Summer hopes give way
to monsters in the closet
and solitary naked dreamers
in clothed classrooms
taking tests
for which
they have

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For Mike

In the evening,
boats rest in soft sunlight.
Osprey and gulls quiet
their daily complaints
as humanity 
brings its day 
to a close.
The pungent smell of 
gas mixed with oil 
rises from the docks.

I wait for my love.


The mind
circles back
and again
replaying those things
not yet erased
by the ensuing seconds
which tick relentlessly
over lifetimes.

And through the
sand-filled hour glass
time slips quickly
and is as impossible to
hold back
as a screaming child
on a summer water slide.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

bare tree
in summer growing
marshmallow sticks

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In Heaven's Presence

We are surrounded
by light,
and blinding--
beauty unsurpassed.
Our hearts leap within us
at last
with those long forgotten
who'd drifted down the still waters
of our pasts.
Our spirits soar together,
unable to fully encompass
the Love
that surrounds us,
and unending,
all turning towards the same God.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Water's Coming Out of the Sky

The dog greets me
and trots outside.

Water's coming out of the sky.

She wags her tail
and doesn't know why.

She sees the water
coming out of the sky.

She turns around
and goes inside

because water's coming out of the sky.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

At the Grotto

Orange butterfly
alights on purple flower--
prays with Bernadette.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Looking Forward

With my hand on the plow
I do not look back
but instead,
look forward
into the eyes
of Christ.

Monday, June 29, 2009


The silver tarnishes.
The polished stone
goes grey.

gather dust
and color fades
from memories
carefully built
over years
and across generations.

In the distance,
beyond the mountain,
the rain sparkles
in the sun.

I look
for a way
A small child
for a rose.

red blends
with yellow.

Her exuberance
does not
kill its beauty.

I wrap it carefully,
the paper molding like clay
into a suitable container,
and, protected,

it grows.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Poetry of Beauty

All around us is
the poetry
of beauty.

The age-old impassioned yearning
of humanity
for the timeless, unsurpassed achievement
of created exquisiteness,

in sound
or in art,

in poetry
or in form,

unfolds for us
that which is beyond ourselves.

As we hunger for this beauty--
this order--
spending hours with the paint brush
or the pen,

with the clay
or the computer,

we toss aside our weak attempts
and start again.

We search each stranger's face
for the perfect beauty
that we know exists

for even our imperfect minds
have conceived it.

Beauty will save the world.
~Theodore Dostoyevsky

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Catching Up

I am running and running.
It is catching me,
the molasses monster--
making my brain
sticky and slow
and dis-functional.

What will happen to me?

Will I escape
at the last moment?

Will I find myself
able to breathe

Is there anyone left
who knows


To-do List

The words are gone,
faded away
in the impossibly hot glare
of the noonday sun.

All that is left
is the in and out
of daily breathing

that is the last thing

on my to-do list.

Present Continuous




Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I move through the day
as through molasses--
sweet, sticky,
and slow.

I am a snail
in the summer
a listless sloth
among strong, sinewy saplings.

I live in a dream world
of subconsciousness.

Naked in public,
I walk uncertainly
into a strange classroom.

I have not studied
for the test.

I find myself
in the middle of a road,
the blacktop
hot under my chest.

I pull myself along
at an agonizingly slow pace.

I am unable to crawl away
from the moving train.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Great Impressionist
takes His brush in hand
and thickly lays on the paint
in neutral greys
and soothing whites,
in tender greens
and ruddy browns,
giving us peaceful respite
in the noonday sun .

Friday, May 29, 2009

Finding Your Angel

Find your angel--
your being of light,
created by God
for infinite praise
of His immeasurable Love.

Draw strength
from God's messenger
poised in flight,
ever vigilant,
ready to rescue
on a wing
and a prayer.

Find your angel.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Naked Light

My eyes squint in protest
against the naked light--
red hot--
too bright

against the others--

politely soft

and unfocused

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Gettysburg in Time

As we quickly travel
through a tunnel of time,
scrambling backwards
up the slippery slide,
hunting for history,
we chase the elusive
spirits of the Civil War
as the blinding light
of our own century
bleaches out
the ghosts of the past.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Crowning of Mary and of Us

May is the time
of May Crownings
and First Communions,
of blossoms
and of light,
bringing forth the delicious awareness
of the exceptional distinction
of being young,
and female,
and Catholic.

Lace and tulle bedecked,
with veils and crowns,
we share our unique significance
with the Mother of God!

With her we come forward
to receive Our Lord--
our innocent "yes"
facilitating the union--

God alive
in us.

The feelings fade
over time
but come back
in waves

like labor,

giving birth
to a long forgotten longing

and in dreams
that visit
when day time defenses
are asleep,

and call us back
to live

our ancient, created value.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The waves
of olive green
lap weakly
on the muddy shore
and never succeed
in covering up
the dead fish.


The waves
of olive green
lap softly
on the muddy shore.

The pungent smell
of salty, rotting fish,
given as an offering
to the gods of modernity,
surrounds the vacationers .

Nature has been
relegated to the outskirts--
down the street,
around the corner,
and to the left,
to be seen only
when you steal
a few minutes

Dream Time

Like an ancient priestess
I cover us all
in violet pigment.

The color
is different on each of us,
not achieving
the craved-for sameness.
The pre-school purple
does not hide
who each of us
has become.

I paint with larger and larger brushes
but our hair,
grows in unexpected places,
and refuses to be covered.

I turn and notice a family--
A baby, two children
and a father with a beard.

Their hair is the color of an erupting volcano—
a dancing flame alive in the light.

They are breathtakingly united
yet strikingly unique

and I stare, marveling

that such a thing

is possible.


And the people
went on
marrying and being given in marriage
right up to the day
when the liquid fire
covered their lives
and froze them,
in a moment
of eternal stagnation.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Make a Picture

Make a picture.
Use colors
so bright
it makes people smile.

Create textures
so real
that people gasp.

Make a picture
with carefully
drawn lines
that form


Poems Formed

Are poems formed
in the rain?

Do their cells divide?
Do the words provide
from pain?

Do they grow
in the snow?
Are they bold
as the cold
clings to wounds
left to mold,
rot and grow
with the strain?

Do they flee
with the sun
all ablaze--
do they run
from the light,
seeking night?
Or will day
snatch the veil--
show the grief--
it made plain?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dark clouds gather
like thick smoke.

Burning tears,
fall like needles
from my eyes.

I cannot see.

I cannot breathe.

And yet, I endure.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

on the radio
in the restaurant

Mellow Yellow       mellow
Beatles muzak

Beatles music

in the nursing home

to calm the
aging hippies

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I walk through the world
looking out
through a dark glass,
dirtied and obscured
by passing storms
that nevertheless
follow me about--
my vision
of the world,
but not
the world's vision
of me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the searing heat
and the ancient, arid dust

he is birthed
he is raised
and he sees

the heavy burden
the utter oppression
and the desperate poverty
his people daily endure

and he knows
in the most elemental facet
of his being

that he has come
to save them

no matter the cost

to himself.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Party in the Nursing Home

In the great leveling
of advanced age
we are all strangers,

all friends,

at once

and unknown.

Long time family,
we've just met.

We share our cake
whether we know
who has come to the party

or not.
an Alzheimer's stranger,
he wheels in
and joins our party.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Married Love

Ancient and bent,
after pushing her wheelchair,
he feeds her.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

They are children

They are children
running out
into the street
because we can't watch them all.

The traffic
going once more
to their daily grind
hits them
without a thought
and doesn't stop.

We turn away
and try not
to take the blame.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Am There

This year,

the purple is


the covering of the statues,

the desert atmosphere,

bare branches on the altar

and sand

in the holy water font.

It is not necessary

to contrive a season

of mourning.

It is not necessary

to manufacture

the tiresome, ashen, darkness

to get in touch with the reality of

my spiritual poverty.

I am there.

My Own Lent

the purple curtain


upon the setting sun

bringing with it my own Lent

replete with

leafless branches

waiting to bud

and desert sand


for cool relief.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

writing with one hand


behind me, thoughts and memories


the mud that is stirred

blinding me

to what



Friday, February 6, 2009

she speaks

of the cliches

of aging

and of

      the ways

the wind



the pages



the future.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Her mind,
or unable
to intertwine and commingle
with the increasingly impenetrable
extent of her helplessness,
creates its own intricate version
of the genesis of her fears.

Once familiar objects
are no longer recognized,
placed there, she says, by others.

They become a threat.

She sees change where none exists,
instead of recognizing
the changes
in herself.

How do we wake her
from one nightmare
to the other?

Which is worse when you are 81--
the imagination
or the reality?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Walking in the rain
the street light focusing on
the one illuminated section
of the shiny blacktop,
pancake shaped under the conical spotlight,
highlighting the frantic drops
that fall within
its cone-shaped boundary,
I contemplate the few
among the many,
each the same,
yet different,
set apart
merely by an accident
of their birth.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Midlife--New Beginnings

In the pregnancy of midlife
the labor is hidden
and unexpected
as the decisions of youth
send their signals to the brain
and the painful contractions begin.

What will we have?
Will the child be healthy--
able to survive on its own--
or will we all need to
rally around in prayer
and boil water
and find clean sheets
because we don't know
what else
to do?

Of Psalm 51 and Broken Arms

I wear my brokenness
before me...always...
reminding me
of my frailty,
forcing me
to step carefully
and watch
for obstacles
in my path--
reminding me
of my perpetual dependence.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

i write again

when i was young
i found
that poetry
came from pain,
so i stopped writing.

now i know that pain comes anyway,
and so i write.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


My skin is taut--
to the breaking point--
being pulled
from all sides

by the old
and the young--

The cells s e p a r a t e
at an a g o n i z i n g l y s l o w p a c e

and I silently bleed.

I call out
as the waves of pain
overtake me,
my lifeblood
spent and empty,
beyond sustenance,
no longer nourishing.

The placental essence

a rusty dust under my feet

to be blown away

by the wind.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Now begins
the long, slow slide.

Scrambling backwards
against the tide,
we struggle
against the inevitable
of the situation.
Poems © Gemma W. Wilson