Always a river

There is always a river
in those dreams more than
mere dreams
though sleep restores us
we are carried to a destination

where there is always a river
the rogue general encamps
at a level place by the banks,
beside the ancient bridge
and outside the useless city walls.

There is always a river
consummate expression
of its watershed, writhed
and veined, turning in the basin
of a sensate creature land.

There is always a river
taking, delivering sending
its signals through stony flesh,
embodied, ambled past
ignoring our presence or blind.

There is always a river and
weary of its journey here
it breaches what had seemed
a boundary. We cup our hands
and drink, drink the clear water.



“Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.”

Before I could even begin to articulate why, that line from W.B. Yeats played through my mind. I had watched in horror the slow murder of George Floyd. And then the convulsive reaction of rage and protest played out across the country. That stone seemed to weigh in my hand like something you might throw through a plate glass window.

The line comes from Yeats’ poem ‘Easter 1916.’ Maybe what put it in my mind was another line from that poem, actually something of a refrain… “All changed, changed utterly.” I’d had that sense when I first watched the video online, that somehow something was now changed. Maybe this was only a hope — that the callouses we’d built over the years were going to be ripped away — by the horror to which we were all witness.

That’s the narrative of Yeats’ poem.

“Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.”


At Stone Mountain

My wife paints now mostly. In the past she’s done installation art, sculptural and environmental work. Sometimes I’ll press her to interpret her work for me and she’ll remind me that this isn’t her job in the end. She works with intention; but there is a dimension to experiencing her art that is my responsibility, the responsibility of anyone who chooses to engage with it.


The Art of Ignorance

Think of it as a kind of sleep,
restful, nourishing, blank;
a place where fears would reside
and also fall away forgotten, become
powerless. I don’t mean to suggest
what you don’t know won’t hurt you.
It’s just that the last thing you want to give
a frightened child is insight…
and what are any of them but frightened?

There comes that moment
an exhausted swimmer decides to drown,
the skeptic resigned to worship.
An artist gessoes blank canvas
and it is art enough
that honors the unmarked surface…
A man will take measure sometimes
of the crimes
that he did not commit.

“Sleep” isn’t the exact word, though.

There are traditions where the name of God
must remain unspoken; the light of a face
is imagined an all-consuming fire.

Courage only makes known what it would
when we are ready.


Instead of peace

With “Instead of peace,” Tom Driscoll visits upon themes of faith and fact, ache and aspiration, utterance and silence.
Poetry in song form, soliloquy, haiku, anecdotal, confessional—
“quite a bit of complaining sadly, but also prayerful moments, of due thanks and praise.”

Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher:; First Edition edition (May 25, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1329163907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1329163904

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Absence Singing

Addressing loss or “absence” —seeking to understand and accept it, maybe even receive some aspect of the lack as blessing, something constant, present, perhaps even permanent —and singing.

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher:; First edition (July 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1304102254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1304102256

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Is there praise to be sung
for the quiet hours he let anger pass
alone, unspeaking, for what he managed
not to break or curse, for the long walk north
famous in family lore
for each step, for what he carried into wilderness,
into cold distance, into his pale-skied absence?

Suppose one could share his story, and offer
some telling detail, so free to imagine
tall pine each side of the old logging roads
he travelled; places he stopped along the way,
creatures that watched him from the woods,
his long, long walk,
narrow heaven above.

What he came upon at last was
his history unknown and none to presume
fill his silence with what they thought they knew,
a place where he would neither be reminded
nor asked to forget the sweet face that became his grief.

He might finally have disappeared there completely
when we gave his name to our son.