"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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life is a Conversation

more than anything

life is a conversation

a coming together

of all our longings

a youthfulness of

knowing and being known

are you ready

for the next step

are you ready

to speak up, to sing out loud

with the voice of a

mockingbird, whose brightest songs

are spiraling out joyful threads

of light, mending together

the deepest sorrows

of the world

are you ready

to speak up, to listen to

a single child’s

cry of loneliness, or

an old gray haired woman’s

gay laughter, do you know now

how to look and to see

how the thread of each thought

leads you inevitably to

the next moment of your life

there is gathering

within me a great gratitude

of the earth (and all she teaches)

in these

early morning hours

when the world is

stillness itself

when unspoken words

begin forming the day

it is in these moments

of sanity where I begin

realizing the salvation

found in silence

I am the stillness then

singing out loud

from the quiet depths

a song which marks

the bright passing

of the self into the

world, becoming its own

kind of blessing, as the

earth breathes in once more

Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

For The Sake of Ten (A Poetic Midrash)

once a long time ago, I can't really
say how long, a man and his wife
welcomed three strangers

by the oaks of Mamre, near Hebron
and in true hospitality prepared a simple
meal of milk and curds, with

bread and tender calf
and received in kind
a blessing of life

a promise of pleasure
and a son to come
too wonderful to believe

the woman when hearing this
laughed to herself and wondered
at such a marvelous claim

she (Sarah) who was old and barren of life
beyond all memory of delight, of
youth filled joys and sensuous nights

it was a promise kept, within a year
he who will laugh (Isaac) with joy
was born, as the Lord had spoken

then the story of the passing stangers
continues, and this may be my
favorite part of the tale to tell

when the three men passed on to leave
the man (Abraham of the Good Eye)
went with them for a while

only to question again and again
first for fifty, then forty five
then forty, then thirty

then twenty, and finally
for the sake of ten
righteous people

moved by his own sense
of justice, mercy
and compassion

he questioned the Lord of Hosts
as advocate, even in his fear he questioned
how can we do any less?

and yet, God who heard the outcry
was teacher here as well as judge
one who would know the truth

God invites such dialog
you see, he does not hide
he chooses to be engaged

and by doing so
seeks to guide us in
transforming our world

by the plains of Mamre
near Hebron, he came
giving birth to a nation

a people of God, chosen of God
through which all the nations of earth
will become blest

Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2010

Azaleas II

this year our azaleas                                     
have come late
right on time
on how you look at it

it has been a long winter
for Houston,
for me.

The azaleas
quiver in the air,
Like can-can dancers
their pink and fuschia skirts held high
their stamen legs kicking
corralling my attention
and beckoning me
to come closer
and inhale this solid mass
of buzzing blooms.

do you remember
that each flower has both
both male and female parts?
horticultural hermaphrodites.

there are two types of flowers:
imperfect and perfect.
the imperfect ones are always
either all male or all female
while the perfect ones
have both male and female parts.

Our azaleas are perfect.
Their silky magenta petals
Puff and sing their way through our home
revealing spring
in a chorus of floral angels.

Julie Macksoud and Ron Starbuck
Copyright 2010

Julie Macksoud is an internet friend of mine who is at Colby College up in Waterville, Maine. We’ve been friends for quite a while now, since before Joanne and I were married in 1997. Our initial connection was due to Nanci Griffith, we’re both fans of Nanci. Julie was inspired with my original poem about our azaleas at home and came up with this lovely version that I wanted to share with folks. She asked me if she could revise it some, as a gift. At the end of the poem, I put her name first, because ladies should always go first, and because she did such a lovely job of adding something special to the poem, with a certain touch of femininity. It’s fun to look over the difference and a lesson for me, I say this humbly, in how to compose good poetry. I say compose, because writing poems is probably more like writing music, than prose. Although, I do think that well written poems and prose, can both call to mind the feeling of a well performed symphony.

I get impatient with myself or the poem at times, and rush too quickly into print and publication. Perhaps that has something to do with instant gratification, something we all suffer from these days. There is a lesson in that too.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


this year our azaleas                                     

are coming late

or right on time

depending on how

you might want to look

at it all

it has been a long winter

a cold winter

here at home

I love the colors

they give off

floating there

in the air, like

can-can dancers with

their skirts held high

their stamen legs kicking

freely into the secret

spaces of our hearts

do you remember

that each bloom has both

both male and female parts

stamen, anther, filament (male)

pistil, stigma, style, ovary, ovule (female)

then petal and sepal (shared)

and did you know that

there are two

types of flowers

imperfect and perfect

the imperfect ones are always

either all male or all female

while the perfect ones

have both male and female parts

I’m happy to report that

our azaleas are perfect, and I wonder

if this is not some hint from God on how

we are to each reach godly perfection


you should also know that we have

the bright pink and deep fuschia

electric magenta ones, whose colors each spring

sing through our home, a chorus of brilliant angels

Ron Starbuck

Copyright 2010