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 2


II.

A Contemplative in Lent

How many times did I promise you everything,
The wind shaking loose the sweet fruit
Of sunrise or sunset, of snowfall in winter
Or rain in spring?  How many times, and

You said nothing?  How often did I whisper,
"It's me," waiting to receive an answer,
And received none?  Yet I will try again this year.
Yes, I will promise again to mold my soul

Into a clod of soft black earth, to reshape my body
Into a tree that chews the ground over and over,
Then settles in like a cow to let the warmth within
Bask in the friendship of the summer sun.

This is the only language you and I have
Ever known, this silence passing back and forth
Between us.  So, I give my soul once more
To its nothingness; I let my body's roots sink down

And take hold.  Others see only the
Dark mass that lifts me up against the sky
Where I must feed with prayer the hollow center
Of each passing day.  But I am a cry that floats

Behind the wind and will not fall.  I am
Who I would be for you.  I am nothing, I am all.

Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD


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