The Obscure Sense of the Presence of God

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[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,
moonless night.

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