Discalced Carmelite Friars

Semi 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

Seven Conversation Poems – Part 7 of 7


To Think that This is It, the Very Thing

A long, long time in the making, and I the recipient
Of all this careful planning, even of the mishaps
And unexpected twists of fate that gave the thing in the end

A certain air of improvisation—it is the world remade

By this love You have inspired in me, if only for
The briefest of moments, which yet lingers on in the trees,

Branches out over the lake, huddles under sunlight.
Of all Your creatures, to think that it is
this one,

The human being, that You cherish so much, having
Promised never to forsake us. If I can’t tell a story about it,

It’s not for lack of trying, mouthing nonsense that nonetheless
Gives an air of sociability to my dumbfoundedness—

Wonders overpowering me like an aura of majesty on
A spring day. I want to live in it, however vain the hope,

Till it becomes a matter of character, of whom I’ve become
Bearing up under the burden of my vast ignorance.

Let it possess me, I pray, till one can see it in the slowly 
Unfolding movements of my arms and legs, in
The slight slouch of my shoulders when I hang my head

And gaze out blankly before me. Behold, I’m walking

Through a thick wall of surprise. I’m squeezing
My way through a cluster of bouncy music. I pause,

Then, with a deep breath, I begin to shine.
                                 Some things
One just never talks about, not with anyone; it’s part of

Their texture, the manner in which they’re true. But why
Care whether they drift off into insignificance?
This love invading the clouds, this gladness gathered

Above the distant hills, overshadowing the valley below—

It’s not mine to begin with; it comes and goes, slipping off
Into its own irresolution. Yet it belongs to no one else
Since I alone am here to receive it.
                           Never forsake me, Lord,
I pray like any coward. And You answer, You truly do— 

The vagaries of sleep, birds shaken from the trees by
Dawn’s first thunderclap, the thin line of the hours
Advancing step by step, the thorn of irremovable desire,
The never-ending neediness of people, cities swarming 

To the dusty plain, the obvious solution to humanity’s
Many problems emerging like Venus from the sea,
The rainbow that, in a single bound, leaps the whole

Wide sky, the Spirit who’s in it all, but slips from view— 

Out of mind, out of sight, like the thought of old sorrows.
What does it all mean, you ask? Well, that’s the very thing. 

Time scoops me up and tosses me into nightfall.
Weariness overtakes my face as it first overtook my feet.
My heart, steadily beating, is a surface of soft waves
Unrolling against the shore of an unknown isle. 

Yes, imagine it, how life here arises for you anew, here
Upon this shining shore—for here you can stand, you,
A human being. I have made you the animal that stands,

And that is enough, this self-determination I’ve given you.

Written by Fr. Bonaventure, OCD
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