Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Poet and Contemplative

“From the abundance of his spirit [the poet] pours out secrets and mysteries rather than rational explanation” (Prologue, The Spiritual Canticle).

“In contemplation God teaches the soul very quietly and secretly, without its knowing how, without the sound of words” (Chapter 39, The Spiritual Canticle).

In the spirit of St. John of the Cross, this blog reflects on the contemplative experience and the poetic experience, sometimes separately and distinctly, sometimes in common, as mutually enlightening.

I will also post to this blog, from time to time, my own poetry, with a short interpretive note attached.

~ Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD

Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 3


III.

Our Lady of Sorrows

I inch forward from the crowd, urged on by the gathering darkness;
A few follow, pressing close behind as if tethered to me by a rope.
A single, short cry floods the hills; soon it fades away, echoing on
In my mind's numbness, in the speechlessness of my heart.

I am determined to show them, show all of them, these soldiers,
That his head has slumped forward, his body hangs lifeless,
His last breath has seeped out of him, out under this dark,
Angry sky, this rooftop of our stunned incomprehension.

I wanted to stand under his eyes as they emptied of light, but
Now he's dead; quickly they take him down and lay him
On the hard-packed earth at my feet.  The weight of a thousand
Stars rushes through me like a cold rain.  I grab at the space

In front of me, a fruitless gesture.  For how long will I have
To wear this black mantle of sorrow draped over me like a shroud,
A prison for my helplessness?  It will take at least a dozen soldiers,
With the backs of oxen, their heads helmeted in a strange tongue,

To pick me up and move me from this spot.  I step forward, a single
Step, and drop to my knees.  That I must go on, widowed
And orphaned, the crowd knows; our hearts beat as one in short,
Crippled sighs.  I try to speak.  Like a chorus they say, "It's over."

Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD
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