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

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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The City and Beyond ~ Four Poems – Part 4

At Home~central IllinoisI've reentered the land of cornfields.No pioneer trail preceded me here, onlyA magic carpet of golden corn husksAnd the wind-swept linen of a clear blue sky.There is just one way for me to returnTo a life lived among shattered sidewalksWhere the city's tangled paths twist and turn,And that way is forever closed to me.I lounge, rather, in the shade of an oak treeHoarding the
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Three Poems for the Coming of Spring – Part 1

I.Another Spring PoemIt cannot be otherwise than with these white-cappedDogwoods loitering here and thereAmid the thin lances of the pine trees aimedAt the sky.  The glass bottomBoat of the heavens floats slowly by overhead,While here below azaleas swirl like schools of fish.Yes, life teems, thick as a coral reef.A distant stretch of field lies strewnWith wriggly dandelions.  And here close
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The City and Beyond ~ Four Poems – Part 2

Pasqueflower in the rain II.Sunday Morning~MarylakeSnails, slugs, earthworms crowd the flowerbed's wet floor.Clouds, spun of glass, are set out like bowls filled with melon.A stray thought passes, maybe one about Mary as she stoopsTo kiss the cold lips of her son, or about the wreathThat enfolded the prayer she then whispered.Rich rye bread for breakfast and, later, icy lemonade,After a brisk walk. 
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Five Poems for the New Year – Part 2

II.Mary, Mother of GodHer child was born without arms or legs,But found his legs in the roots of trees,In their thickest roots that chisel through frozen soil;And he found his arms in the roll and wrestle of a brook,In the curve of a swan's neck, in the raysOf the late sun lodged like spears between hilltops.So she carried her child down the road;And from behind the dark weight of each doorway,Of each
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Three Christmas Poems - Part 2

II.A Child is BornSurely you understood that, starting today, everything must begin anew.You, like us, born knowing next to nothing of the world,Must await the sun to introduce you to this thing called warmth.And you, like us, snatched from blindness, must now learnTo touch with feelers of recognition so many familiar faces.  LaterYou will have first to see the far horizon to hear the silver mountains
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Five Advent Poems – Part 2

II.John the Baptist - Winter MeditationsIf You Lord had been here to hear my cryAnd give breath to my roaring,Your love wrapped in thick leather straps about my heart,Then I wouldn't now need You quite so much to call my soul backFrom its weariness.  Oh, silence to silence I advance towards blindness.My eyes are sunken, sunless, the eyes of winter. *Day has passed over into night.  Chill
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An Invocation

        Recently I gave the invocation at one of those fundraising banquets, you know the kind.  For what it's worth, here's what I said—with changes, making my words more generic and anonymous.  You can take for yourself from the prayer as much or as little as you want, probably more of the latter than the former.        Some years ago I
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Poetry - 3rd in a Series

Nightfall    1.The moon is full, wedged in at the top of the hill.Its floodgates open, and the goldenLandscape of day recedesReceiving a river of innocence and awe.A silver age follows, An age of journeys into the night.Tall trees sway and wave us on, stirred by the wakeful dead.There is something miraculousIn the way we do not doubtThese moments are truthful and good.   
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