Morning Promise

I seem to be in a poetry kind of mood lately, so here’s another. This was written early one morning at Holy Cross Monastery. Their refectory (dining room) is essentially round and filled with windows that look north, east and south over the monastery’s vast sloping yard, the Hudson River and the hills beyond. I often sit in the dark room to witness the sunrise. This day was spectacularly beautiful, so I stayed on to see the river itself awaken.

Sadly I didn’t have a camera with me, but a generous and excellent photographer allowed me to use one of her fog-rising-on-river shots. Though this is not the Hudson, the mood evoked that morning is caught to perfection by Virginia Allain. You can visit her blog here, and see more of her amazing photography here.


The last drifts of night fog
rise as columns of incense
from the Hudson, an aching
prayer for promised Light;


wind disturbs the river’s surface
marking paths of slow and pointless
journeys that linger on
the glassy edge of water
until the river stirs and stretches
and swallows them with the dawn;

solitary crows patrol the river’s
northward line then four
geese vee toward winter warmth
coining energy in the
shelter of each other’s draft

and low-slung clouds lazily haunt
the wake of the geese until
the dry air breaks its fast
on their moist and fated wisps —
a sour skin of smog
all that remains to trap the
morning’s reckless glory

I ride Earth’s back toward the
blinding sacrificial star
that gives us life,
my hasty benedictus a
postscript-pale song of hunger
for the day that
breathes itself into me —
that will become me —
before Earth and I
sail into night.


2 thoughts on “Morning Promise

  1. There was a thin layer of ice on our pond today, as I’m reading your poem I wondering if I could justice to the moment like you have.

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