Frost flowers, silver
laces veiling diamond panes,
wither from the fire.


Small legs running,
Soft arms reaching,
“Kiss, kiss you?”
I reach and lift her close.
Lift, but who lifts whom?

Missionary Couple

You could have used
this golden time
to enjoy fruits
of long-year farm tasks,
to rest
and savor family ties;
but you chose
to sell car and cattle
and cross a continent
where, with
spirit, smile,
and flannel board,
you knocked on doors
and touched
our world-centered hearts.
Did you know
a small boy listening
would remember
and one day take your words
across an ocean
to touch other hearts—
and that a girl listening there
would travel to far islands
carrying your message
and your love?


A crystal prism flashes to life
In the fragrant chalice
Of a lily
As the tender blush of morning
Swells along the hills.
The lark flings her praise
Into the tremulous air.
In the branch of an olive tree
The spider weaves a banner of jubilee.
A weeping woman sees and hears none of these,
So black is her grief.
The robes of the gardener brushing against the herbs
Release their sweet incense where he walks.
His voice is a benediction.


colored dark and light—
Some cut from Joy.
Some torn from Night.
Bright blue calico dreams
right beside
the deep perplexing plaids.
But there is order
in the seams,
in the pattern
hidden there.
I’ve learned
a lot from contrast
when lost
within the square.

[photo] Photography by Wes Taylor

Father Made Mountains into Molehills

We ponder services of love his hands
performed with no complaining breath to blight
our innocence. His oak tree image stands
entwined in these—the pallid winter light
that failed before the tedium of chores,
the milk pails freezing, sun not up when he
would ring with red the stove lids, icy floors
his carpet. Kindling crackled before we
would venture in his wake. But he was gone
with pail and lantern to repeat the day
and sign with frosty breath another dawn.
His giant lantern shadow-forks the hay.
We never knew him weary. Was he ill?
None asked then how he leveled every hill.