These strangled prayers for peace

I’m alone on the beach, but for a thousand driftwood friends, some reasonably good throwing rocks, and a cigar for rumination.


I’m sitting on an ancient bleached log, blowing Nicaraguan smoke over the Juan de Fuca Strait, worrying about earthquakes, hurricanes and nuclear war. (The word worry, by the way, is a mash-up of some old English and German meaning to ‘strangle’, or ‘seize by the throat and tear’.)

I would have made a terrible Buddhist (as it is, I fail the bar of half-assed Christian), so attached am I to suffering the-anticipated; fretting some feverish future. (You can catch my act, a gloomy Billy Bragg singing: Way over yonder in the dimming gr…een, ain’t nobody that can fret like me, ain’t nobody that can fret like me.)

To fix this I decide that worry is a form of prayer: so here I am, in solidarity with the rest of the world’s worriers, storming the gates of tomorrow, preveniently seizing, strangling, worrying peace-on-earth into being…

and sitting in this fragrant acrid cloud
I watch the light play on the waves
and like some augur of old
I pine
for a sign:
perhaps some solicitous sand crab
to move my parked imagination
into the bright eelgrass of presence
so hold to my heart
peace as a possibility.



  1. Hello Stephen.

    Good to see you back. I hadn’t heard from you in a long while and was hoping you were Okay. Thanks for the thoughtful post as always.

  2. Right – good to see you back!
    I told a group I was speaking to last week that I have proof that worrying works. You should see all the stuff I worried about that subsequently never happened.
    Never knew the origin of the word though – mashed English and German – that’s our family’s mother tongue….

  3. Thank you for this. I worry with you, watching the light play on the waves from my little beach on Fulford Harbour, watching for signs. On the one hand I’ve seen a rotting rabbit carcass, a large fish skeleton, and half a dozen turkey vultures. On the other, I’ve seen great blue herons, kingfishers, and children with dogs. Maybe our worry/prayer is working?

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