Building Houses


As far back
as anyone could remember,
the people of the town
built houses for each other,
sheds, truth be told, crafted
with the hammer of judgement
and the nails of assumed
superiority; houses too small
for a full breath, too cold
for the precociousness of hope,
secured with heavy bolts
of dark warning and fear.

Yet in this town, as in
countless towns everywhere,
lives continue to be lived,
families formed, futures built,
histories made and recorded.

Yes, but wait, you may say.
What about love?
What about compassion?
Do not lose heart, my friend,
for love, in all its guises,
gratefully knows forever,
the trick to pick our locks
and let herself in.

© 2014 Dennis Ference

Father and Son


(Written several years ago when my father came from a distant
state to reside in the nursing home where I worked at that time.)

I did not know him as a son
hopes to know a father.
That was my thought as
I laid him to rest
in his new bed and circumstances
at the nursing home
in which I labor
for daily bread and respect.

Though present throughout my childhood,
it was an impression of absence he
relinquishing to mother
the dispensation of love and direction
and other childhood necessities.
And in her compliant shadow I grew
with no expectations of him,
only those secret longings
I could not name.

Now, he and his need,
with a minimum of warning,
have erased plotted distances
to reenter my life
like a dull thud,
disturbing what had been
a satisfying harmony
between family, job and benign
expectations for tomorrow.
And in a moment I taste it–
resentment flavored with
just a sliver of gratitude
for this intrusion

© 1998 Dennis Ference
(First published in America.)

mortal wound


all our chronic
compulsive cleaving
good     and      bad
rich       and     poor
left        and     right
black    and     white
right     and     wrong

threatens to inflict
on our world
a mortal wound
that only a Divine
love can heal

© 2014 Dennis Ference
(First posted without pic 10/29/14.)