Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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“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

Easter Sunday


The two departed for Emmaus late morning;
The heat of the day flopping itself down
In front of them like a hound dog.  Soon the crowds
Would swell and clog the road.
                    The day
Was overcast, our two pilgrims downcast—
He whom they called Master having become outcast.

It almost works with “grown” as well—the day
Was overgrown with dangling, grayish-gold pears,
Their skins pallid with age and sudden disbelief.

The heart of life’s hopefulness had begun to fail,
Pumping at only forty-five percent, as had happened
With my mother.  Then, that morning,
The blood in her veins turned a rusty brown.

Their Master had been outgrown—as in outstripped—
While trying to accomplish what was needed
When at last the hour arrived.  He himself
Had warned us against such a fatal miscalculation:

Seeing how the man was unable to complete his tower,
The onlookers laughed at him and said, “This one began
To build, but didn’t have the wherewithal to finish.”

He, too, had fallen and failed, monumentally,
And our two pilgrims were quite down-grown
About it.  Scarcity conquers all, à la gravity,
Or the simple fact that one can’t pass by unseen
While looking in another’s eyes.  Or maybe you can.

    *

“Along the whole dusty road,” they told us later,
“He had hid himself to our left or right, just
Out of sight among the rocks and olive groves.
Or he’d approached from up ahead, past the rise

In the road, walking towards us with the sun

At his back.”  It’s a little unnerving when you
Think about it.
            My eyelids droop, and a thick
Black curtain falls as though in a darkened theater.
Boom, I snap alert.  Someone’s standing there

In front of me, leaning in like a summer day, the air
Around me buzzing with a now unimpeded embrace.
Then the chapel’s air-conditioning kicks in;
The room returns to its usual half-muffled giggling.


Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD
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