Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

The Fledgling Poet

“The point of [a] poem [is] not only aesthetic enchantment but contemplation and dialogue.  Poetic experience, like religious experience, is an act of communion with the world.  A poem is religious not because its intent is religious but because it intends contact with human experience on the deepest level possible.”  
“Poetry that is grounded in contemplation and dialogue gives us access to the realities of the human heart: the reality of our authentic self, the reality of our basic homelessness and emptiness, the reality of God’s mercy and abundant love.”
Introduction to The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers 

Although the poetic urge can be distracting, it nevertheless lends itself to the contemplative spirit; training us to be attentive and receptive to the mysterious.  Life by way of joy and pain, offers an ageless and ever present stream of mysteries to ponder in the heart helping a fledgling poet strive for dialogue and contemplation.

The Four Minute Hour
Vice was their afternoon delight,
exploding from lead-filled pipe.
Our breath, torn from our lungs fell
like enormous iron screws upon
Tile, asphalt, and grass…
…wresting our hearts asunder, 
as the clock kept a four-minute hour.

Feelings of pain and tragedy (poem above) press in and weigh down; overwhelming the intellect to communicate emotion.  While the effects of love, joy and pleasure (poem below), can tickle, fizz with delight and drench the imagination in colourful images, language and verse.

Home Again
Joy is this orchestral feast!
Every street merchant voice a trained
instrument, borne aloft the trades wind.
“Broom-ayyy!”  “Fre-shhhhh fi-shhhhh!”  “Nutt-ty buddy!”  “Pie-nnnnn-ta-pop!”
Their dulcet tones herald a stock market, 
harmonized over transistor radios and barking dogs.
At the window, white curtains float with
the lazy breeze, in the bedroom of my youth.
I drink in the sweet heavy sunlight 
as red terracotta tiles cool my feet.
in the kitchen daddy rustles to
the newspaper in contented discord 
mummy’s lilting voice, singing “In the garden” – 
At once, prayer amidst this bright orchestra of sound, 
fans blissful memories to life.

Written by Hannah de Lisser

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Other Blogs by Secular Discalced Carmelites:

  • Bethany Hang Out – a blog by Shawn Chapman, OCDS. Shawn is a member of the Austin community of Secular Discalced Carmelites. She also writes regularly for ATX Catholic online.
  • Elizabeth Explores Writing – a blog by Elizabeth Ogilvie, OCDS. Elizabeth is a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.
  • Gray Rising – a blog by Tim Bete, OCDS. Tim is a member of the community of the Secular Discalced Carmelites in Dayton, OH.
  • Hearth Cake and a Jug of Water – Mary Bellman, a member of the Dallas OCDS community, sends out a daily Carmelite quotation by e-mail. Send her an email at bellman.mary@gmail.com if you would like to be added on her mailing list and receive these Carmelite quotations.
  • Illumina, Domine – a blog by Pat Enk, a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.