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 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 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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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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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 1

I.Nightfall~DallasSomehow, once I'd climbed out of the wellOf late afternoon,I found it there, set out on a plate,Still fresh after waiting all this timeFor me to arrive.  Yes, evening was offering itselfTo me like a blueberry muffin, with itsPurplish inner auraThat leaves a stain on the tongue.Never would I have asked anything more of youTo prove that you still, that you have always cared,O my
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Poems for the New Year – Part 5

V.Intimations of SpringIt took a thousand years, but at last a new warmthWorked itself free.  Slicing through alleyways no biggerThan a man's fist, this first hint of spring soon picked up speed,Veering left and right like stampeding cattle,Bumping against doors and shutters and jostling wind chimes.The clatter sent pigeons soaring skyward like fireworks,The day's cloud cover parting before them. 
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Five Poems for the New Year – Part 3

III.The Dead of WinterAnd there it was, this solid wall of cold disintegrating in an icy rain.My own bony body had already emptied itself out, soundingA few tinny chords that were unable to build a music for themselvesNo matter how hard they tried.  Now night was washing ashore,A field of black roses flooding the lawn just below my window. *What am I to make of it?  Day had raised a towerOf
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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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At Day's End

~after a conference on St. ThereseWe knocked at the door.  Did she answer?A sprinkle of rain brightened the streets,The trees, the lawns, the sidewalks--The city shone, and her eyes everywhereLooked out as if from behind a window.Hardly daring a smile, she turned and hid.In time a rainbow appeared, traced backTo her open hands . . . She had tossedA white dove in the air and said:  Be free,Free
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