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A Prayer in the Spirit of St. John of the Cross


Deep the darkness,

My soul sinks in the abyss.

Death it feels,

Desiring Love's touch

Which you seem to withhold.

Where have you gone,

And why torment my soul?

You give desires to share

All that my soul feels.

Yet, the deepest longing

Is left unfulfilled.

The desire to cry out,

To hold onto some peace,

Only deepens the darkness,

The pain of unshed tears,

The pain of love rejected.

When will you return

That I might heal and

Raise up my dead soul

In Praise to you?

         ~ tp


Mother Poems

by Marie Turcotte

I See

I see what others cannot.

            I look deep into her face and recognize her,

                the unique person who is my mother.

I see her as she is,

      and love her all the more.

I look at her hands and see how they resemble

mine I see my reflection in her face.

I share her name.

Is it because I see myself in her that the pain of losing

      her cuts through me, piercing my heart?

Is there a hidden bond between us that unites us as one,

         so that I feel her every pain as though it were my own?

I see her anger, her frustration, her loneliness.

I serve as a witness to her tears, to her pleas, to her

      cries. Like a sponge,

I absorb these and make them mine,

      and my own tears flow, unchecked.

I am tormented by what I see,

      and utterly helpless to change the vision before

me. I want to cry out in rage.

In the silence of the night, I

weep. In the stillness of the night,

I pray. In the darkness of the

night, I see.

The Offer

She has reached a stage where I can do no more

for her. She resists all my actions on her behalf,

     no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

I have been stripped of all the familiar ways of responding to her. I must learn a whole new

way of being with her.

I am lost without the old patterns to rely on.

I want to flee.

All I have to offer is my self,

      and the childhood fears of this not being enough return.

Will she reject me?

Will I abandon her?

With God's grace, neither.


I remember her as generous and kind.

She was a simple woman who worked hard to provide her daughters

     with the "extras" that

made a difference. She

sacrificed that we might

have more.

I failed to appreciate the sweat of her labor for me.

Years later, I look back and see that she

     was proud of me, that she loved me,

     even though she was un-

     able to express this in the  

     way I wanted and need-


I grew more distant as the years passed,

     thinking that she did not understand me.

I moved beyond the narrow confines of her world in the

old neighborhood. What I feel today as I realize that she is beyond my reach

     is deep regret and shame for having judged her

     for her lack of education,

     for her broken english,

     heavily accented, for her

     manual, seemingly unim-

     portant job, for her dis-

     comfort in social situa-


     for her lack of worldly experience.

I failed to see the woman of strength

     beneath the surface appearance.

I failed to appreciate the

tender heart within. I

failed to love her for who

she was.

Is it too late to acknowledge her sig-

     nificance in my life, to express

     my gratitude?

Perhaps, even from her place of confusion,

she can feel my love for her.

Perhaps the depth and intensity of

     this love is enough to fill the

     space between us.

Perhaps this love is enough to

     heal the old wounds and

     mend the broken pieces of

     our past.

All we have left is the present.

Perhaps this love is enough

to sustain us now. It is never

to late to love.

The Gift

A year has passed since the change in her took

place. I am told that what has happened is God's


I ask myself,

How can this be?

Later, I come to understand and appreciate

The gift in this loss.


I feel a wetness on my cheeks and realize that the tears

     are flowing once again.

Perhaps the lesson here is to flow with,

     rather than resist.

Perhaps this inexhaustible source of water serves

     as a means of purification.

I am being washed clean of the sins of the past.

Released, refreshed, renewed,

I open myself up to the possibilities in the present.





This is the time of tension between dying and birth

The place of solitude where three dreams cross

Between blue rocks

The place of solitude where three dreams cross

Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood

Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still

Even among these rocks,

Our peace in His will

And even among these rocks

Sister, mother

And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,

Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

         ~ T.S. Eliot




noviceBuddha’s eyes faceted:

the moon aware

throughout the horizon –

novice takes a walk,

leaving pen and paper


not worrying over

poems for this century,

but keeping

the vows

in constancy.

The night sky draped

in monk's robes

hover in the periphery

of lilies and lotuses

blooming –

chastening the wind

that demons ride

for flight,


the master's dream.

no sutra could free

the mind

from fears

spiked by memories.

For how can faces

be purged

of shadows

and exiled

to another land?

         ~ Jaime Dasca Doble




And I hear them whispering. They

carry the covert codes in the cacophony

of migrant birds, bats and crickets. At dusk,

the drifting leaves surrender

to the wind’s rupturing gust.

Into the brush of night, a scythe moon

reveals the sudden fall –

love, like a woman calling from a bush;

dread, like a merman crying out from a spring.

Pausing upon a path, the sight of ravens

pierces my eyes, and the incandescence

of space devours the absence of insight.

I view the enduring darkness, and the words alter

one after another upon a trick of mirrors –

graveyards beating themselves

into a shore of broken corals,

pubs masking the hours with the hauling shadows

of strangers. Between toil and memory,

talebearers and presences, a mosaic solitude seals

the furnace from within, and then, nothing remains.

It is where all my poetry comes to a halt.

         ~ Jaime Dasca Doble


I had the honor of sharing time with Keith during his final week of life. Last Sunday he spoke many powerful words; helping me to understand that because he was at peace with life, he could also be at peace with death.  Here is the poem he inspired in me:





The meaning of life is love, Keith said

And in the end, there is only peace.

We are one, we are one, we are one, he said

And in the end, there is only peace.

I silently pause in the space between breaths

In this moment that holds all time

For the clock that preaches a mere 24 years

Knows nothing of when to die

As a baby embraces the moment of birth

So too, Keith shied not from death

Having imparted great wisdom of love and joy

His bookends of life are honored and blessed.

So turn to your neighbor, someone crying near you

And give them a hug or high-five (yes, right now!)

If we’re able to share our love in this way

With a smile, a hug, a high-five

Keith’s work is done, his cup is full

And he’s never been so alive.

As family and friends, we mourn the loss

But as grateful students, we learn:

If the meaning of life is love,

In the end, there is only peace.


~ Michelle Wilson, Keith’s older sister

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Last updated: 11/25/10.