The Word’s Embodiment



Delicate hot-pink bloom,
The first chill hint of spring,
Aflame outside my room,
What message do you bring?

Some think you self-sufficient,
Spontaneously there,
Mute matter’s co-efficient,
Unfolding unaware.

But I can only deem
As holy petioles
and pedicels that teem,
Leaf-tongues and petal-scrolls.

Thus taken, in their stations,
All things are angels sent
Blazing into creation,
The Word’s embodiment.
~David Middleton “Azaleas in Epiphany”


This feast for the eyes
draws me in,
dazzles my senses,
awakens a revelation
so that I too unfold
to let the fiery Word
transform me,
a mere bud,
to glory.




Like a Blessing Vanished

above the construction zone on the south end of the Western Washington University campus

Empty and filled,
like the curling half-light of morning,
in which everything is still possible and so why not.

Filled and empty,
like the curling half-light of evening,
in which everything now is finished and so why not.

A root seeks water.
Tenderness only breaks open the earth.
This morning, out the window,
the deer stood like a blessing, then vanished.
~Jane Hirschfield from “Standing Deer”


And think I must fall on my knees
to see them standing there,
Breasting the misty tide,
Sniffing the misty air.
~Charles Norman from “The Deer”

same pair, two months ago
same doe and fawn, two months ago, on the WWU campus

It’s Life We Harvest

vine maple WWU

madrona tree berries –WWU

…still it’s not death that spends
So tenderly this treasure
To leaf-rich golden winds,
But life in lavish measure.

No, it’s not death this year
Since then and all the pain.
It’s life we harvest here
(Sun on the crimson vine).
The garden speaks your name.
We drink your joys like wine.
~May Sarton, from “The First Autumn”

burning bush-- WWU
burning bush– WWU
red fringed maple leaf --WWU
red fringed maple leaf –WWU

Is there something finished?  And some new beginning on the way?

I cried over beautiful things, knowing no beautiful thing lasts…
~Carl Sandburg, from “Falltime” and “Autumn Movement”

WWU tree -Haskell Plaza

WWU tree

WWU tree in Haskell plaza

I praise the fall:

It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.

I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.
~Archiblad MacLeish from “Immortal Autumn”

College Way, WWU
College Way, WWU




A Foliaged Farewell

Along College Way at WWU
woods on fire in the back of our field
our cottonwood deep in our field

“How innocent were these Trees, that in
Mist-green May, blown by a prospering breeze,
Stood garlanded and gay;
Who now in sundown glow
Of serious color clad confront me with their show
As though resigned and sad,
Trees, who unwhispering stand umber, bronze, gold;
Pavilioning the land for one grown tired and old;
Elm, chestnut, aspen and pine, I am merged in you,
Who tell once more in tones of time,
Your foliaged farewell.”
–   Siegfried Sassoon, October Trees

Aspen (?) tree at WWU
black walnut in our front yard
poplar row on our farm

Journey Work of the Stars


I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.
~Walt Whitman

All photos were taken this week while walking past Western Washington University garden plots on my way to and from meetings on campus.   My routine tasks, my everyday journeyman duties, are rendered extraordinary in the light of petals, pollen, webs, pigment, fruit, seed pods and always, always the nurture of soil and rain.   I chanced upon a gardener yesterday and told him the difference his work makes in my day.  The rich visual and tactile variety in the gardens is like star-lit nebulae and galaxies scattered about in planter pots and plots.

He looked up, startled, so used to not being noticed,  and simply said, “it’s been a good year for the plants.”

Indeed it is.  A good year for us all.









Arms Grown Strong

from "Feats of Strength" by Tom Otterness at Western Washington University
photos taken of  “Feats of Strength” by Tom Otterness at Western Washington University Outdoor Sculptures

In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants
and hold the world
in arms grown strong with love.

And there may be many things we forget
in the days to come,

but this will not be one of them.
~Brian Andreas



No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
Hebrews 12:11-12


She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
~Proverbs 31:17


I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4: 12-13


Some of us think holding on makes us strong;
but sometimes it is letting go.
~Hermann Hesse