Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017
Monday, September 11, 2017
September 11, 2008
Fr. Mychal Judge, FDNY, Requiescat in Pace
Blunt force facts smack us in the face,
proclaim this martyrdom,
raise up this simple priest—
68-year-old Franciscan, Father Mychal Judge,
at an age when he should be easing into retirement,
maybe visiting hospitals twice a week
saying a couple masses on Sundays
taking long vacations to Killarney and Lago di Como . . .
rushes from St. Francis of Assisi Church
in the shadow of Madison Square Garden,
across the street from Engine Co. 1/ Ladder 24,
to the World Trade Center Towers and Armageddon:
Fr. Mike removes his helmet to whisper prayers,
anoints a dying brother fireman with the oils of the Last Rites,
the final comfort . . .
whacked by flying debris, bodies,
steel, glass, paper,
breath punched out, life snuffed.
When his brothers in the Department
see the lifeless body, recognize Fr. Mike,
Five of them lift him up on their shoulders,
carry him to a nearby church,
place him at the altar.
They cover him with a white cloth and his stole,
lay his helmet and FDNY chaplain’s badge
on his chest
kneel down and
Thank God for Fr. Mike’s life.
Then they hurry back to the Pile, the rubble, the Disaster,
the End of the World.
* * *
Life and love will overcome
the furious hatred and darkness
Fr. Mike will not be forgotten:
“His light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness will not overcome it.”
(Robert M. Coughlin September 25, 2001)
Monday, August 28, 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up,
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.
I pledge allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island,
and to the beings who thereon dwell
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.
[What an extraordinary poem--by one of America's greatest living poets! Gary Snyder captures it exactly right. This poem passes the envy test where you say, "I wish I had written that one!" The photo was taken by me on July 14th, 2017, and shows Carolan and Linda crossing the cold, cold Morrison Creek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana. We were on our 14-mile trek from the Morrison Creek Trailhead to the Schafer Meadows Forest Service Station--a very difficult hike for Linda and me (and maybe a routine one for Carolan, who is in superb shape). The water of Morrison Creek is fast-flowing and perfectly clear. It contains meltwater from snowpacks melting atop the high mountains in the Great Bear Wilderness section of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. I'm guessing the water temperature was in the low 40s. It was painful (my feet and legs ached from the cold), exhilarating, and unforgettable.