Monday, March 26, 2012

The First Moment

A door opens in the center of our being and we seem to fall through it into immense depths which, although they are infinite, are all accessible to us; all eternity seems to have become ours in this one placid and breathless contact.

Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation
The approach is clear;
light of day,
bright sky 
beyond my
silken shroud,
the door is open,
but I am afraid.
Should I pass through,
perhaps descend to
endless depths?
I listen, 
I hear you calling me
calling me;
come home.
so, breathless,
trembling with life,
I begin.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

For Love Alone

Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity but for love alone.   

Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation.

radiant vision
brilliant interlude
raging clouds sundered, 
sun-split storm;
soft rain falls
through winter-bare trees,
through fields of
feral flowers,
God’s world
set afire
for love alone

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spirit of Spring

If we trust God to act in us, God will act in us. 
This is how our lives become prophetic.  
Thomas Merton, The Springs of Contemplation 

Spirit of spring,
fields, marsh  
Oh, trust the rain!
With sacred grief, 
it will lead you
to prophecy:
bird-song in
the foothills;
heavy grapes;
the tall

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Exorcist

John said to him, “Master, we saw someone who is not one of us driving out devils in your name, and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.” But Jesus said, “You must not stop him; no one who works a miracle in my name could soon afterwards speak evil of me.”  Mark 9:38-39

We saw him
down the road, exhorting,
calling Our Father
to cast out crazy Satan,
and for reference
he gave your name!

We told him to stop.

He was not
did not have the proper

but he replied that
a spirit greater
than we twelve
guided his arms
as he waved
the devil away,

so he refused!

Perplexed, we came to you,
indignantly demanded that you
intercede, cast this upstart
heretic into the muddy ditch
from whence
he undoubtedly arose.

But again you surprise!

“Do not try to stop him,” you said.

And here’s a lesson:

Remember that neither we
nor our apostolic descendants
must ever think that you
ever gave us exclusive rights
to heaven.

We’ll try to remember.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The First Day

“The new man lives in a world that is always being created and renewed.” Thomas Merton,

rows of vines
tangled, waking, alive
converge to the point
of vanishing, to the blue haze
where this lush mountain,
rain blessed, gracefully lifts
the deepening dawn
to where you wait
in the thin veils
of day.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Bright leaves, tongues of flame
holding slender twigs; those thin pillars
resisting seductive breath of breeze,
binding the tender leaves to more substantial limbs
within the deep core of the whispering tree.

Even the setting sun
cannot penetrate so deeply as this,
where darker leaves
stand in rapt attention
as the night-clad trunk,
solid and unmoving,
dumbly regards neither
retiring sun nor rising silver moon,
but worships only
the empty
blue ether.

Image: The Forest by Paul Cezanne 1902-04

Monday, March 12, 2012

Response to Merton: Balandi and Alkozai

"To choose the world is to choose to do the work I am capable of doing, 
in collaboration with my brother and sister, to make the world better, more free, 
more just, more livable, more human. And it has now become transparently 
obvious that mere automatic "rejection of the world" and "contempt for the world" 
is in fact not a choice but an evasion of choice."  
Thomas Merton. Contemplation in A World of Action

Our world is
bleeding out
filling the sea
with stolen

Why should I not
reject this contemptible

Last night
in Kahdahar's shadow
Fear smashed open
the simple doors 
of Balandi and Alkaozai

as an American soldier
the mothers and children
of two nations, 
spread thick their blood
and painted red
this sinful

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rough Weather

pressing in from the sea
squall-line, supercell, windsheer,
violent, ragged fingers
reach down, ready to pull
the trigger
and end our
green world.

Monday, March 5, 2012

To Live for Oneself Alone

"To live for oneself alone is to die."  
Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration 

Stars line up
and testify 
against me;

a raspy chorus of
rises to decry my
bitter tears as
human lies.

I despair
in the empty
wind, as trees
whisper rumors 
of my lonely end.