"Wheels Turning Inward" is a is a rich collection of over fifty poems, following a poet’s mythic and spiritual journey that crosses easily onto the paths of many contemplative traditions. The artwork at the top of this page, is one image found in the Gordon Moore Memorial stain glass window at Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, by the artist Kim Clark Renteria. The image of these three circles, is emblematic of both the Trinity and the title for this new collection of poetry now available from Friesen Press.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


It is hard work
this praxis of union with God
who knows how long it will take

some say a lifetime
Buddhists and Hindus say several
theirs may be the longer road it seems

I am afraid that
I have no patience, of flesh and bone
to wait that long, God calls unceasingly

I know this
that each time I partake
in Holy Communion, Christ comes

Each time I hear the Eucharistic words
of thanksgiving spoken
each time I feel the mystery of
the Holy Spirit descending

Each time I open
my hands and heart
in stillness and sacrament
Christ comes

With a soft and gentle
intensity beyond all words
to tell

It is not a simple thing to tell at all
God it seems, is always waiting in the wings
such divine grace is always given
as a gift unearned

Whenever I open my hands, even now
in this very instant
as during Eucharist
Christ comes
in this moment of epiclesis

To land lightly in each palm
held upward in reverence, in prayer
becoming a reflection of holiness
that travels throughout my whole being
binding his spirit to my flesh and bone

Opening my whole self
filling my own broken body with a light, that blooms
to transform all truth, reality itself

Tongues of flame
burning brightly with a radiance
as on the day of Pentecost

To become one with Christ
as Eve was once joined to Adam
“bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh"

Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2009

John Calvin the 16th century Protestant Reformationist and French theologian believed passionately that the Eucharist or Holy Communion is God's gift to us. God is the giver and we are the receivers of this divine gift. As Christians we are united to Christ in his body and blood by the Holy Spirit. This union is so intense, so very real, that we can rightly say we are "bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23-24)."  We are embodied in Christ, as declared in Ephesians 5:30: "We are members of his body." Both our salvation and redemption as Christians is found in this union with Christ.

When we look at Jesus as a teacher, revealer, and redeemer he came not so much to form a new religion, but to help us improve our relationships with God and one another.  His two core commandments were to worship God, and to love and care for each other.  And even though God has very high values, God understands that as human beings we can't always live up to those values. God still loves us all the same; God forgives us, and will let us make a new start, time and time again. Indeed, it is our common every day imperfections that make perfect our compassion. So too, must we learn to forgive one another.

Jesus teaches us that “Our Father (Abba) who art in heaven,” maker of all creation, who knows the position and state of every solar system and planet in the universe(s), every molecule ever formed, and even every subatomic particle dancing through space and time, cares deeply about us each. Christians believe that when Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word, became human, he opened a door for us to become intimately connected with God. How this all happens is a divine mystery, but it does happen. It is happening now.

Monday, December 28, 2009

if you will only take a moment

if you will only take a moment
to pause quietly, to close your eyes
in prayer
and to then imagine yourself

breathing out slowly, surely
and while doing so
letting go of all earthly desires
and distractions

all attachments, and anger
the relentless thoughts, frustrations
and fears of the day
until the body aches for air

starving for the divine spirit
which gives true life

breathing in again slowly, surely
welcoming the Holy Spirit
descending upon you, like a soft white dove
or a fire fiercely burning and bright,
as a blessing of Christ

consuming all suffering
into a moment of clarity
filled with light
surrounded by a peace

surrounded by a peace, which
is like no other, no other at all

which is like an understanding,
a oneness of Christ, the Word made Flesh
that transcends and
heals the whole world

your world

                       Ron Starbuck
                       Copyright 2009

Snow Falling

it is easy to close my eyes
and to imagine

snow falling
carefully and silently
in the evening stillness

like lace from heaven
perfectly formed in symmetry
and balance

descending everywhere like
a soft wintry breath

that touches my face
and forehead, a whisper from god
lightly landing upon eyelid and lash

each single breath
followed with a kiss 
a grace given
a blessing even

a delight
warming my heart

Ron Starbuck
Copyright 2009

there is something about being an episcopalian

there is something
being an Episcopalian
that draws me
engages me
moves me forward
makes me think
and makes me quake
there is something there
something that defines me
embraces me
holds me wholly
and holy still
within thy stillness

something that rings true
across and through the mind
something that touches
that binds and almost breaks
that bends a heart
to hear a voice
that knows a love
and feels a joy
that sees a mystery
to which i smile
as you smile back

God in heaven
we are a community
that one day soon
i hope
i pray
will know no bounds
or boundaries
in this world
thy kingdom
thy will
will be done
on earth
as much
as in heaven

it may seem to some
in spite
of all we fear to do
or do not do
by your good grace
thy kingdom comes
ready or not
here it comes
within us
all around us
it comes with
or without expectation
time to wake up


Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2008

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Maestros

Like ancient warriors at war they turn upon the stage,

swirling and twirling through the light

as darkness swells out to surround them.

Here troubadour's birth their songs,

and here chants the lonesome hunter

emerging from raven's shadow.

Here at the forest's edge, where nature

mirrors the mind.

Here life is born from nothingness

and beauty is born from grace,

while compassion takes root in the song.

It is here where harmony folds time,

into the singers heart,

dismissing all discord. 

While dancers pirouette in the palm of eternity's

hand, both sorrow and splendor their partner.

Sublimely they engage existence,

fencing with fate,

waltzing to and fro between winds of the

ethereal, touching the stars,

directing their destiny.

At other times they are very much like

Tristram and Isolde or

Abelard and Heloise.

lovers risking all,

giving and receiving,

lost in one another's healing arms.

Or like artists blending colors across canvas,

caressing and creating,

each partner helping to lead the other inward  

into the warm full heart of God,

home of many colors,

where thoughts clearly sung give life to the soul.

Tenderly, fervently, passionately, wrapped in

patient joy they become joined together in their

exploration of spirit, sound, and sensuality,

here they are blessed,

here they are at one with themselves.

There is laughter here and

a prayer to speak of shared with tears.

Where wheels turning inward

induce one to marvel,

embracing the divine,

and touching the sacred.

Willfully they move as one possessed by the music,

And who can truly tell whether it is the

movement of the music

that fashions each soul,

or the movement of a single soul

who fashions the music.

                                                   R. P. Starbuck

                                                   Copyright 1991, 2002

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hail Mary (Luke 1:28-48, Luke 2:1-20)

Hail Mary, full of grace.  Our Lord is with you.”

In this hectic upside down non-stop world,

    help us Mary to be still, and to say yes to God.

Help us not to fear, you who in your own fear

    saw what we only now see in part.

Help us to peer clearly through the dimmest

    mirror, to know fully and to be fully known.

“Blessed are you among women,

    and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”

Pray for us Mary as we stagger and stumble,

    like wounded beasts towards Bethlehem.

To a humble manger filled with straw,

    smelling of dung and dirt; to our own nativity.

To a miracle and a womb wondrous with child,

    gladly giving birth to the Christ child within,

    wrapped and swaddled in bands of cloth.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,

    now and at the hour of our death.”

To be born, gentle in heart and strong in faith,

    on some still and unexpected night.

Let shepherds sing with untold joy,

    and multitudes of holy angels rejoice.

Let the Lord of hosts shine all around us.

    And let all who hear be amazed, at God’s astounding love.

“Hail Mary, full of grace.  Our Lord is with you.”

Let such a revelation be at hand;

    let such a holy night,

    and such a birth be repeated once again.

Let it be revealed each single day

    as we live in the light of Christ.

“Blessed are you among women,

    and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”

As the angles tell, teach us Mary to fear not,

    never again; treasuring God’s news of great joy

    in our all too human and frail hearts.

Help us to become one with Christ,

    “that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us.”

Let the season of Advent come

    tenderly and fully upon us,

    pregnant with expectation.

Let the Word become flesh,

    to live amongst us.

    Emmanuel, God with us.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,

    now and at the hour of our death.”

Let us be born again and again

    in the Bethlehem of our souls,

    in the quiet stillness of God’s love for the world.

Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2009

The second stanza of the poem calls out to W.B. Yeat's poem, The Second Coming.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Within These Eyes (For Colton – Who is a gift from God)

Within these eyes

So blue, so bright
Floating in the stillness
Of God, out of which
All the heavens of creation
Are reflected.

Within these eyes
Is a light, which is exactly
Like the light of God.
A single white point
Pointing to the oneness
Of all creation.

It is a light
Like the Star of Bethlehem
That leads us to the
Christ of Compassion
And the fullness of God.

It is a light of
Unlimited potential,
Of stars and constellations
Beyond all human memory
And imagination.

That imagines heaven
Found in a single breath,
Born from the breath
Of God, when the dust
Of the earth was made into man.

That imagines heaven
To be found in a
Mothers embrace,
And a kiss, so full of love
It heals a broken world
And worlds beyond
And worlds beyond.

Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2009

Colton is my great nephew, the young son of my niece Jenny and her husband David.

Here is a picture of Colton and his mother together.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

poets without punctuation


there are some camps who believe that poetry is

best with proper punctuation

while others choke at the thought

saying that it stifles

creativity in all good forms


i love writing poetry whenever

punctuation is optional

although i will draw the line at spelling

even though e.e. cummings never did

thank god for spell check and word processing


the age of computers is a wondrous age

even when I mistype

not misspell mind you

the words are changed

instantly before the eye


commas colons and semicolons

question marks and periods

whichever comes first or last

simply doesn’t matter

to some poets


poets instinctively

know how to read

between the lines

and fill in their

own punctuations


although i will freely admit

that for journalists

novelist and essayists all

poor or exceptional writers

punctuation is a must  


perhaps it is because poetry

is meant to be

read out loud

in public places

loudly or softly


we write not so much to

break the silence

or the stillness

but so you might stop

to enjoy a word or two

between each silent breath


prayer is like that you know

which is why each poem

spoken or read out loud

is very very much

exactly like a prayer



Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2009


Friday, September 11, 2009

Times Square

Midtown Manhattan
Center of the Theater District
Here Broadway diagonally bisects the island
and 42nd Street cuts it in half.

Last Night, Eight blocks north of here
at the Winter Garden, I saw "CATS".
T.S. Eliot in New York City.
Could this be, his "still point
of the turning world"?

I am standing at the top section
of a narrow triangle.  Surrounded by
people and buildings, buildings and people.
Behind me is a giant COCA COLA sign
flashing white on red, with letters

In front is a big blue and white
computerized sign reading:
Two sides of another building are illuminated
RED AND BLACK on a bright field of NEON GREEN.

A graphics display shows, "Network to Tokyo",
just below,
Far Eastern news PARADES across an Electronic
Ticker Tape 10 FEET HIGH.
Native New Yorker's call it the Zipper!
From this point, city streets become
Impregnated with a fury of sights and sounds.
From this point, the dance begins.

I turn to look downtown,
twin towers reaching upward
reflect our pursuit of affluence.
Wall Street and the surrounding
Financial District seems eons away.
A church band is playing on the square
Warm black African American faces singing and
flashing smiles instead of advertisements.
Yes, I know, in a way it is the same.
But, they are singing:

"This little light of mine,
 This little light of mine.
 Let it shine, Let it shine.
 All the time, All the time."

For an odd reason it reminds me
of home and white wooden churches
in deep East Texas.
Can't you see those Gospel singing Choir members,
swaying in their pews, and dancing in the aisles.
The band members seem to be full of
such innocence and faith.
I am at once both humbled by and
thankful for their music.
I too want to be part of this dance and
I too want to be touched by God's Holy Spirit.

A Bag Lady off the street moves towards me
smiling and I smile back.
Her face is etched and carved with wrinkles
that map out the rough course of her life.
Our eyes touch, for a brief moment we connect,
and share a passing thought.
Even now I can see her half toothless smile,
brighter than a thousand neon signs.
She passes by and continues on her way,
Crosses Broadway towards 8th Avenue,
Not once looking back.

But I can hear her all the same;
Singing, softly singing,
"this little light of mine . . . . . ."
"let it shine, let it shine  . . . . ."

I am doing the same.

                                                R.P. Starbuck

September 2011:

One of these poetic images has changed forever now. Since September 11, 2001,
the "World Trade Center" twin towers and several surrounding buildings in lower
Manhattan no longer stand, and a new memorial and new towers are being
erected now. It's been nearly ten years and we will always remember the site
as "Ground Zero".

It is everlastingly etched in our national and global consciousness; we have
come to see it as a sacred place, marked as hollowed and consecrated ground.
Even as the rebuilding moves forward, ethereal images of the "twin towers" still
remain. We see them so clearly; achingly brilliant in our minds they reflect the
eternal spirit and memory of those who perished there, turning this part of lower
Manhattan into a sacred landscape.

If you listen carefully you can hear the power of each single soul calling us to let
our own light shine

"This little light of mine...
Let it shine, Let it shine…
All the time, All the time..."

Copyright 1991, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2011

Saturday, August 22, 2009


In the enormous complexity of our lives,

between breathing in and breathing out,

before eyes open and muscles stretch awake each day,

in that secret place of the soul where dreams and reality join,

where God’s presence dwells and is known,

there is the stillness.

between the broken rhythms and compressed moments

involved in rushing to and from work,

between the head jerking abrupt stops and nimble starts

or frustrated cries and angry looks, with words

uttered under a tongue no one cares to understand,

there is the stillness.

between the action of cars racing from one

lane into another in a continuous motion

where two moving bodies

both try to occupy the same space

and all destinations eventually come together,

merging into what seems like a single parading line of lights,

there is the stillness.

between the slapdash after school and weekend itineraries,

when parents taxi children from one

busy social activity to another;

from piano lessons to play rehearsals,

scouts to soccer, and baseball to ballet,

there is the stillness.

between the blurring flutter of a humming birds wings

as it darts from one brilliant blossom to another

or the quick smooth movements of a spider racing across

its web to descend hungrily upon the lost wayward fly,

or in the moment just before sunrise when light

spreads from east to west like a golden Japanese fan

folding out across a pale saffron colored morning sky,

or in the fluid graceful motions of a rainbow trout

swimming upstream to its spawning ground or

before the initial breath of a newborn baby when oxygen first

enters the small delicate pinked fleshed lungs

and marks the moment with a triumphant sound of outrage

and a puffed up rosy face,

there is the stillness.

before a small t-shirted blue jeaned boy playing marbles,

carefully takes aim at his opponents position and with a single

accurate thumb flick propels his marble across distant space and

then watches with delight as worlds collide, electrons swirl, and

singularities form to infinitely curve space-time,

there is the stillness.

or in the moment when a small young girl dressed in

a simple cotton dress, with patent leather shoes,

lace trimmed bobby socks, and a satin bow in her hair,

kneels down, before a Church’s altar,

on red and white needle point trimmed

cushions to partake in her first communion,

and with open hands and heart

receives first the wafer and then the wine,

and by that act also receives God,

there is the stillness.

And so the Psalmist writes,

"Be still, and know that I am God".

R.P. Starbuck

Copyright 1991, 2002

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Earth Echoes

Because they are so large and seemingly silent,
There are some who will never concede
That within a boulders center,
Larger than ourselves, larger than our small concerns,
Formed by the dried tears of God,
Layered one upon another, echoing the earth,
There is the sound of a beating heart.

Slow and steady, measured not by
The passing of seconds, hours, or days,
But rather by years, centuries, millennia, eons,
Each one being wrapped in its own color of time.

Those who will not listen, would not know, because
The rhythmic beating of our earth, is now beyond,
Beyond their hearing sense, and, not knowing
How to listen, how can they hear?

With ear pressed to stone, listen!
Listen for the echo of earth's voice,
Deep inside its heart, or listen to
The long pauses between each beat.

This is the silence of her song
And the anguish of her giving,
The dried tears of God
Layered one upon another.

R.P. Starbuck
Copyright 1991, 2002

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wisdom Comes So Slowly

why is it that wisdom
comes so slowly

teach me Lord to ask
the questions of compassion
as you did Parsifal

who served the grail
who healed a king

who walked the
"pathless path"
long before i was born

like Parsifal
let me too
meet the Fisher King

turn my thoughts

towards waiting
towards patience

towards healing

as i wait
in the darkness
which is not darkness
only a veil of shadows

as i too wander
on a path
in a forest
which is only illusion

for that one moment of clarity
in which we begin
to see that our

self inflicted pain
is the next step
towards a wise mind
a world of wonder

and a couragous heart
which is open and free
to love the mystery

reflecting from us all
created as we are
as images

arising out of the
stillness and

the silence

and the emptiness
where wisdom rests
waiting for

waiting to serve
the Fisher King
answering the questions
of compassion

let me become such a brightness, where

"the night is as bright as the day"

Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2009

The Book of Common Prayer, Daily Evening Prayer Rite One

If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night," darkness is not dark to thee, O Lord; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to thee are both alike. Psalm 139:10,11

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12