Home » byline

The blind eyewitness


On the way to the parking area at the basement of a mall, I would notice people sitting outside a room. They seemed to be waiting. One day, my curiosity at last getting the better of me, I looked in and there found people having a massage. The masseurs and masseuses were blind. From the […]

Posted: March 25th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

Love stronger than thirst, water deeper than desire


I find in this poem, “Like the Water,” by Wendell Berry, meanings that I can only describe as transcendental. Like the water of a deep stream, love is always too much. We did not make it. Though we drink till we burst, we cannot have it all, or want it all. In its abundance it […]

Posted: March 18th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

Raphael’s last painting


Giorgio Vasari called it Raphael’s “most beautiful and most divine” work, this painting—“The Transfiguration”—which now hangs in the art gallery of the Vatican Museums. When Cardinal Giulio de Medici, who later became Pope Clement VII, commissioned it, he refueled the rivalry between Raphael and Michelangelo. This was because Cardinal Giulio had likewise commissioned another painting, […]

Posted: March 11th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »



How coincidental that this year the first day of March should fall on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. I thought that the calendar had conspired to bring this point home to me—that the physical and spiritual intersect, which I often let slip, especially when daily life beclouds my inner gaze. […]

Posted: March 4th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

The poem as objet trouveé


There’s no money in poetry, but there’s no poetry in money, either,” said Robert Graves. It’s a charming chiasmus, which someone like Graves was bound to weave sooner or later — sooner, it turned out. Still one can catch a whiff of sour grapes in it. How many poets, in the history of literature, ever […]

Posted: February 25th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

An ironclad message for a skeptical world


In the morning of September 11, 2001, planes slammed the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City, killing 2,996 and injuring over 6,000 people. Within two hours, both towers collapsed. The strike, code named “9/11,” described by then US President George W. Bush as despicable, might have topped […]

Posted: February 18th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

The short and perhaps happy life of February


The day started inauspiciously. As usual, the clock radio came on at the morning hour set for the alarm, and a voice began to make a summary of the news. Half-asleep I only caught fragments of it, those that entered my hearing as it oscillated between sleep and wakefulness. My need to go to the […]

Posted: February 11th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

Salt and light


Our hands, as well as eyes, Meet when you pass the salt. Indeed, life is encounter (Buber has it down pat). I could have asked you for Your name, but you’re my wife, My cure-all, like salt-water, Sweat, tears or the sea, as Isak Dinesen said. I’d go to war for you As people did […]

Posted: February 4th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

In search of the perfect rose


Years ago, by way of thanks, I decided to write a sonnet to give to friends and relatives. I composed the poem inside a mall, in a coffee shop with a view of a lawn with paths and flower shrubs. When I finished the sonnet, I opened my laptop to look for a picture to […]

Posted: January 28th, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »

The colors of the mind


Ever since I saw a mosaic of the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in a seminary garden, I have always had the desire to make something similar in my home. I told the wife about it and she warmed up to the idea. Together we took the first step towards its accomplishment—we purchased […]

Posted: January 21st, 2017 in Opinion | Read More »