May 31 – Summer begins

Friday, May 31  –  Thomas Merton

“Let no one touch this gentle sun  —
In whose dark eye  —
Someone is awake.”

For this last poem of the academic year, I looked back to May of 2015 for a strong poet’s voice.  I found this short poem written by Thomas Merton.   In his later years, Merton’s awareness of the power of mysticism kept on maturing.  More than many sacred writers, Merton dove deep into the secular west (Paris, London, New York);  into Eastern Mysticism in creative tension with Western mysticism;   into Trappist monastic living (i.e., Gethsemani Abby from his entrance on Dec 10, 1941 until his accidental death the same day and year that theologian Karl Barth died, Dec 10, 1968).

Mystics respect the poverty of human language. Words are not the author’s property.  Words are not the reader’s property either.  A poet’s words invite you to find your self somewhere — mysterious and alive.

Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.

p.s. June and July can interrupt the regular rhythms of work, surprise us, catch the playful in us more than ordinarily.   If a post appears on the list during these next two months, it means someone’s strong words surprised me and made me want to share the surprise.

Back to a more regular rhythm the first week of August.

Have a blest summer.


john sj

Today’s Post – A Song to Nobody

A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
For nobody.

A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
By itself.

Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.

(No light, no gold, no name, no color
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)
A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song to nobody.

“There is no way of telling strangers they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

Thomas Merton
January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968

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