“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
Seven Conversation Poems - Part 2
Tue, Oct 15 2019
From Youth to Age
I wrote poem after poem. Amazing the energy I had then,
Where today there remains only the balmy stirrings
Of music floating like low clouds over lush grass.
Is it true that anger now moves me as love once did?
Is it true that I have grown that old? I speak
Of righteous anger, of course. For me there’s no other kind.
It’s a second face for my longing, one on which the nose
No longer exists solely for the purpose of taking in deep breaths
And letting the chest swell to embrace acres of idealism,
Then expelling them slowly, steadily, like a sigh on an April day
As it slides in between skyscrapers.
—I recall the room at night,
And the lamplight puddling. I was a goldfish in a fishbowl
Of the thinnest air; I lived by gasping. No longer—
Too powerless to change things, a fact I’ve learned to accept,
Since it’s nothing less than the history of the world that
Needs changing. So anymore my lips mutter on and on
As if I were reading from a book—from Finnegan’s Wake,
No doubt—while my heart follows idiotically like flowers
Popping up after rain, buoyant on their slender stalks,
Nodding their heads vigorously—then, come evening,
Withdrawing into shadow. I must bear up under
The knowledge of what I’ve failed at, and of my heart’s
Complicity in the failing.
—But it’s You who forced it
On me, Lord, or so I complain, till my peevishness someday
Turns into gratitude—
Poem after poem I wrote,
With a love that overflowed, for that’s what love did then,
It went into words. Now I live like any mute thing,
Muttering by moving my lips.
—Yet life stretches out
All around me, teeming with poetry, untroubled by wondering
What it should say—
Yes, life’s become simple for me now—
I persevere in patience and tenderness, with a lightness
Lolling about in the chest cavity, and a feeling of
Having been freed from all cramped pettiness in life.
Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD