Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Provincial Blog

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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

The Hours ~ 4 Poems - Part 4

IV.Nightfall:  Compline~The Dark Presence of the DivineYou will light my candle, Lord, my God;You will enlighten my darkness.With your help I can run the race;With your help, my God, I can leap over a wall.            (Ps 18:29-30)    1.A sudden gust of blackbirds awakens,Rising as one thing, a sphere, and rolling off acrossThe cornfields
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The Hours ~ 4 Poems – Part 1

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Conjuring Up the Eternal – Part 5 of 7

V.Grace Builds on NatureThere's no sweetness these fruity molecules,Packed tight as clay and strung like lights fromThe graceful, arching branches of these trees,There's nothing they will not undertake for you,Filling your belly with the nectar of a ripe plum,Or stuffing your satchel with choice pears, shapedLike teardrops and tasting of a plenary indulgenceFrom purgatory's cleansing bubblebath of
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Conjuring Up the Eternal – Part 4 of 7

IV.OtherworldlinessFor long years, or so the Anchoress confessed,The sooty black bricks of night encased her onEvery side.  And yellow smoke rose like incenseEach morning.  "One would think I livedIn a chimney," she sighed.  Yet the smell of peasAnd carrots, of beans simmering in a pot,Spiraled slowly upward on invisible wings,While the pulp she squeezed from meaty applesMerited the
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Conjuring Up the Eternal – Part 3 of 7

III.Speaking of DeathInto the box of the black-eyed menace I go,Its coffin lid, like heaven itself, slammed shut.Steep cliffs loom large at each of its four wallsWhere vultures wait their turn in silence.I nod off.  Who knows whether, if I sayI've come here seeking life and wisdom,With these gifts, or with neither, or with someKind of hellish madness, I will return?  NoMatter.  I follow
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Conjuring Up the Eternal – Part 2 of 7

II.New Day, New LifeIt was in the sky that the event occurred.  A soundLike that of buffalo stampeding over stone pavementWas shaken into life by the steady hammeringOf a wet wind pressing in over stormy seas.  BehemothClouds crawled forward on their bellies, smearingGray shadows along the ground in shapes resemblingThat of a mittened hand, its one, fat finger pointing westTo where
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Conjuring Up the Eternal – Part 1 of 7

As those of you who read this blog may have noticed, I've discontinued the practice of attaching interpretive comments to my poems.  I felt too uncomfortable doing it, wanting the poem to speak for itself.But it has been suggested to me that, following each poem, I conclude with a simple question, something to prime the pump (to coin a phrase) of reflection for the reader.  It seemed like
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Three Poems for the Coming of Spring – Part 3

III.A Boy's Song of SpringI want to laugh and sing, to tell riddles or share with youThe dream that woke me this morning, feeding sunlight to my eyes.I want to mix my words with the clatter of a bluejay's boxcar as it passes,Throwing long, like a train whistle, the football of my thoughts.I want to ride Spring's purity of power, its unbridled freedom.  In a nutshell,To take up the joy of a lifetime
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Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 5

V.Images for Easter(1) A white stone rolls into The sea and becomes a seashell. A white wave enfolds it.(2) A green and gold bird fits neatly Into the palm of the hand, Perched like a newly minted coin. The wind lifts its song high And sets it down gently Into a nest of invisible sunlight.(3) Fern leaves droop, draped In thin black ribbons of rain. They drink as if from themselves; The rain revives
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Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 4

IV.Good FridayHis journey into the final end of it began in earnestWhen his voice first choked, spitting out a salty red brine.They had fed it to him like thick soup, ladling it upFrom deep inside his body.  In his stomach,His throat, his mouth, all the way up,It had burned like tears.  "Death will free me of it,"He'd hoped.  "Then this moment of dying will have becomeOne with my flesh." 
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Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 3

III.Our Lady of SorrowsI inch forward from the crowd, urged on by the gathering darkness;A few follow, pressing close behind as if tethered to me by a rope.A single, short cry floods the hills; soon it fades away, echoing onIn my mind's numbness, in the speechlessness of my heart.I am determined to show them, show all of them, these soldiers,That his head has slumped forward, his body hangs lifeless,His
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Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 2

II.A Contemplative in LentHow many times did I promise you everything,The wind shaking loose the sweet fruitOf sunrise or sunset, of snowfall in winterOr rain in spring?  How many times, andYou 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 soulInto a clod of soft black
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