Paul knew his way at night.
With his eyes closed.
With bare feet avoiding all the stubs.

The air currents by the Rio Grande were cooler.
The channel currents could be harsh.
Paul entered the water to float.

As weightless as possible on the water.
As gulls and geese slept.
As the heavens expanded wider than normal.

Cradled by the river he gave up
any resistance to any force reaching down
and investing him with something more.

A chore worthy of his own constellation.
A super power to save the world.
An almost unbelievable story to tell.

No moon looked down on him.
Countless stars viewed him
but his reflected image would be eons returning.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


I look up
to the glittering
close woven
white net
of the heavens
and feel it cast
by an unseen hand
to haul in souls.

And I wonder
if it is really
many nets
held by many hands
like the fishermen
I have seen
a little off shore—
the steady ocean
their knees.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


We were in the embrace of God.
We shook it off.

We went wild and chased horses.
We chased after the sun to where it meets the earth.

The God who embraced us
spoke a different language from our own.

We spoke with tree spirits.
We sat in council with forty animals.

The pious God in flowing white clothes
tried time and again to reshape us with his rules.

We broke all his rules.
We did not understand him.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


This was the third poem I wrote in 2019 with the title “Abstract.” I reuse titles if the title fits to my way of thinking. I cannot imagine placing a limitation on myself that I may use a title only once in all my years.

I was thinking about when one culture conquers another culture and then forces its religion on the conquered people. (In this case, Euro Americans over Native Americans.) Conquerors tend to believe their god had much to do with their winning, so that god must be a better god. Or there is the belief our way to heaven is the only way to heaven because it works for us.

I have read that when people are first convert, they only half convert. It is the next generation that is raised with a new religion and no other religious teachings that makes the full conversion.

Religion is a difficult subject, especially in these days when extremists co-opt religions to justify terrible violence or a religion has become the dead door nail of ritual that has lost the spirit of the event that caused us to commemorate it in the first place.

Here is an idea. Each new generation should form new religions to commemorate the triumph over hardships that they went through. My parents would have a religion that included surviving the 1918 Spanish Influenza which killed 10% of the world’s population and World War II. Japanese Americans would have a religion that celebrated keeping their faith in the America Dream through the internment camps of WWII. African Americans would have a religion that celebrates keeping the golden rule at heart through slavery and Jim Crow and Black Lives Matter issues of today. I see I want a religion where I feel the spirit of triumph over adversity. So for me, not falling to despair after the death of my daughter or all the friends I have lost to AIDs and cancer and so on. I want to speak from the heart. Loudly. On a soapbox.

So I am a poet.

Love & Light.