May 20 – Thomas Merton

Monday May 18 – “Let no one touch this gentle sun  —   In whose dark eye  —  Someone is awake.”

Five years ago, a weekly selection of 7 poems, from “A Year of Being Here,” confronted me with a short demanding poem written by Thomas Merton.  More than many sacred writers, Merton dove deep into the secular west (Paris, London, New York) into Trappist monastic living (Gethsemani Abby from entrance on Dec 10, 1941 until his accidental death Dec 10, 1968) into Eastern Mysticism in creative tension with Western mysticism.

Mystics respect the poverty of human language. Words are not the author’s property, contained and owned.  Words are not the reader’s property either.  The poet’s words invite you to find yourself somewhere — mysterious and alive with awe.  During these spare covid times, the days sometimes feel impoverished.   So do our words.  Mystic poets, such as Merton remind me that finding language calls out our courage.

Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.    Have a blest day.


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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