"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.