On these gray days of portent haze,
When blue agave arms upraise;
Mesquite like incense fills the air
With silent supplicating prayer.
The leafless Palo Verde graze
For moisture through the misty maze,
And spiny barrel cactus praise
The budding storm with quivering rays.
The canyon lion seeks his lair.
No rattlesnake will slither where
Alert, our thirsty bones await
Ripe rains, while mountain clouds debate.
Where tumbling red tomatoes sprawl
Against an ancient garden wall,
Chrysanthemums that lie nearby
Have heard the mournful crickets cry.
Their hearts that flew upon the wing
Of sudden summer lightening,
Release their sigh and softly die,
Escaping winter’s bleak reply.
Too soon all slips away unseen,
Remembering what love has been.
Who longs to bloom and fruit again
Must first dissolve in autumn rain.
Cold rains fall swiftly,
Summoning the bees: Return
To hive. Murmuring,
Where they nestle together,
Suddenly there is honey.
Oh, Manicotti –
Your garlic perfume,
Your fleshy cheeses,
Your pungent sauces,
Your Pasta al dente.
Rich red tomato,
Your Pepper and parsley.
Children adore you;
Holy monks praise you;
Busy priests call you
The Body of Christ,
The Blood of the Lamb.
In a casserole dish –
Poem for an Irish Priest on Pilgrimage
I thank ye for yer hearty welcome, and yer friendship all the way,
I thank ye for the solemn mass, yer gentle calls to pray.
Yer minding of our motley crew meant no sheep left astray.
I thank ye for yer shelter, while the stormy clouds blew by –
For earthy feet to roll in peat, and angel’s wings to fly.
Sure, Ireland’s a better place for all our holy prayer,
And we’re a better people for the laughter we found there.