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

Holy Thursday

Take this, He said—this tear-swollen ocean.  This sky
The size of a receding star and all the dark around it.
This field of dandelions, their countless fists raised

In imitation of the sun, worshipping its warmth.
This whiskey-colored forest floor distilled from tons
Of pinecones.  This poem that St. John of the Cross

Used to called his Eine kleine Nachtmusik—“good
For fanning cedars and little else.”  This thing
That happened two thousand years ago

And just now found its way to our shores.  In wave
After wave we welcome it, an Amen on our lips.


Once we’d left the table I thought, Well, that’s over.
But nothing ends where everything begins—be it piecemeal
Or all at once—and then goes rushing on ahead.
I’m not sure why it decided to include me.  Perhaps

By mistake, I figured, until I learned to figure otherwise.
Wind pushes me from behind—I am a tumbleweed leaping fences,
Hurriedly threading a path through traffic, rolling up
To the front door of a castle made all of glass, inside and out.


If only I understood how names get attached to things,
Then I could boast of being a free spirit, with the emphasis
On free.  As it is, names control me, not me them.

But “bread” rolls smoothly off the tongue, as does “loaf,”
Since Holy Leisure is something I commonly crusade about.
As for “cup,” that’s fine, too—but not “chalice,”

Which is the word they’ve foisted on us, like “spouse”
For “husband.”  Someday I’ll learn how to squawk
And caw and spread my wings like an eagle.

Written by Fr. Bonaventure, OCD

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