Discalced Carmelite Friars

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

Three Christmas Poems – Part 1


Winter Solstice

The day of your arrival is built on an impending darkness,
On a cold that stabs and stabs as it lifts its cry.  See the splinters of frost
Lying strewn on the lawns and sidewalks, tracing a prickly path
That the wind follows, eyes sightless,
Eye sockets hollow.  Townsfolk hurry by as the wind slides on ahead, out
Over the lake, flat on its belly.

There, as if from a dark mirror, two white swans flutter up to
Where two smoky sea gulls balance.  Reeds
Sway along the shoreline strumming the last, lean rays of the sun--
I hear their music, albeit inaudibly.

Children in coats and scarves and mittens hop along happily, acting, well,
Like children, until, a city block or two later,
A church door opens, yanked from sleep.  I've arrived--I, not the kids,
At least not yet.  In a day or two they will,
Along with you, Holy Infant, once the day of your rebuilding has truly begun.

Warmth is towering, towering up high,
Lights are draped like a lullaby,
Hung from ribbons down the night sky.

So we will sing, singing songs of a monument whose purpose is
To attend to us, not we to it.  "Why
Did you feel the need to come this far, seeking what you've long since had
Within you?  Your race carries it
Like an unborn child."  Let us join together in the collective carol, singing softly,
Yet with every vein and sinew of our souls.

(This poem, Virgin Mary, I have placed in your lap--
Keep it safe beneath the moonlight of your favor.)

Written by Fr. Bonaventure, OCD
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