The One Thing

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Mourning_Dove12

“Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one thing necessary’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed.” Thomas Merton

rain
falling
tenderly
on spring grass, on leaves
bending as two mourning doves moan,
beat wide their wings and brush back the sky, falling low to
dark earth, gladly would I give it
all for a moment
in the glow
of your
eyes!

(9 April 2013)

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Pure Hope

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“We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, no rests in any visible ends. “ Thomas Merton

Close the the gun’s edge
life is sharply
defined.

Clarity is achieved
when you have nothing left
but hope.

That’s when you realize
that your life stands
without any visible
means of
support;

like a high-
wire walker,
you are
pure.

That’s why
you have the freedom
to stand between
the red rage
and the children.

Out of the Silence

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“Out of the silence, Light is spoken.” Thomas Merton

I walk
into the morning.

Birds
drowse
in the dark,

an unseen breeze
strokes my
arms, my bare neck,

as two cranes
over the edge
of the meadow
rise

as the Holy Spirit
moans
in tones
of morning light.

Morning (Good Friday)

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/5829098353/in/photolist-4Kx16z-ecPUED-ebBifu-8i3JQZ-9hVoH9-e5LpLV-btyAdw-6XzVqF-qYzHeE-cdxRC-dSTda4-9iJAV2-9T6DRK-ezu419-bTTTMX-6cVcVw-8CBwoQ-6cPDQ2-8zpm83-9Jvqks-8xMURf-7SWjys-f5eev-noweMv-66GtBJ-8C31Ss-4UUMa5-4zDwwk-ehuk1A-687mU2-9MuBKP-7BCRfM-HaT11-nmMbae-9icGzx-bEETYh-84uTRc-6o6dz1-7Toidh-bRuWiz-4R91qJ-bMfgzX-9B3PR8-7Mp8xG-9CoiFa-f3pjh-buw3Kj-7QoJzu-6o7KvG-nDmpF8/

Therefore let me know trust in the feelings of my heart.
My hope is in what the hand of man has never touched.
Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers.
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude.

Young grass
high and thick

drenched
filled to brim,

by morning sun released,
a fury of green, trees

believing that golden day
will stay.

Persist, oh life,
in the cold of winter,

and beat, oh heart!
With tender heat

as a while yet
I breathe!

(6 April 2012
rev April 2019)

Do Not Gaze into the Night

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“We do not see the Blinding One in black emptiness. He speaks to us gently; His light is one fullness and one Wisdom.” Thomas Merton

Do not gaze into the night.

He is not in the cold wind
tearing at tender leaves.

No, nor does He live
on the mountain of thunder

nor on the crashing shore
where the surf pounds
time on rocks as old
rhythm itself;

You’ll not
find Him
in the piercing cries
of the children
of Syria;

but in your own
brilliant darkness
washed clean
by your tears

there you will find Him:
gentle, and full,
and wise.

We Sing

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“The rain ceases, and a bird’s clear song suddenly announces the difference between Heaven and hell.” Thomas Merton

Over bright fields
we fly.

Thin slips
of consciousness,
bounded by darkness,

we rise
on our song’s
golden glow,

not knowing
how descends
the growing edge
of nothing.

 

(7 July 2012)

On the Feast of St. Stephen

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The Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Peter Paul Rubens 1616-1617

“The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his striving – by which man becomes one with God.” (Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain)

See how wind tears, how
clouds ravage the sky
to shreds…

Can you hear the geese fleeing
shouting dread
as the savage storm crouches?

Are you afraid?

I know
how the sea sometimes
launches boulders;

but the stubborn land
bows and waits
and, swollen, forgives

with torrents of life;
rivers of joy.

(2013-2017)