water pooling, thrust-
ing to fading sky arch-
es to apple
ly to green
of water pool-
rush of waves, surging
of ocean, of atmosphere;
west wind filling night
with the sound of earth
careening through canyons of
empty, endless space!
[W]alking down a street, sweeping a floor, washing dishes, hoeing beans, reading a book, taking a stroll in the woods-all can be enriched with contemplation and with the obscure sense of the presence of God.
Thomas Merton. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation.
I see how the evening sun lights
the high grass, trees shift in the gentle wind
and small brown birds flit between
outdoor tables as young women
reach for coffee cups
drop sweet crumbs to the rough sidewalk,
to the birds. Intent on home-work,
office-work, they never look up
to see how the sky
deepens to darker hue;
how day will fade soon
and vermillion night set fire
to the seaward hills.
The west wind will finally drive them in,
and the grateful birds will all fly away.
I see it all.
My old eyes know how this old world works,
how Your love lurks even in the weeds
that grow on the edge of the most
tended garden; hides in the cries of
the grieving mourning dove;
falls like rain in the tender,
“For all God’s gifts there must be in us a response of
thanksgiving and happiness and joy.”
Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation.
We must be grateful
when the old ones leave.
Forsaking the March sun,
they brush off tender, white blossoms.
Past the fleeing migrations,
they exhale their final, tainted breath.
Rising from earthen bones
in deep silence, new hymns intone
of thanksgiving and joy
Image: Stephen J. Kaltenbach, “Portrait of My Father” Crocker Museum. Acrylic on canvas
From inside this bright room
I cannot see
through windows black
how the good night looms.
Through the clatter of keyboard,
cool, blue screen glows,
my words are dancing
across fields of new snow . . .
but reality waits
in the warm liquid night,
where flows living rivers
of endless delight,
washing me clean
make me ready to dream.
awash in lilting
across the room.
Just keep your eyes down
on your honeyed-
and to song