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

Poetry - First in a Series

My intention is, from time to time, to submit poems I’ve written and have them posted on this blog, Poet and Contemplative. Previously, I submitted two poems to the Discalced Carmelite Friars - Province of St. Therese Blog. In re-organizing the blogs of our province, those two poems are now being moved to this one. Here is the first.

For those of you who enjoy poetry, I hope they will speak to you. To each poem I will attach a short interpretive note.

Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD 

In the Park

The pine tree speaks, testing the air.
In a swarm of sunlight its words begin to dart and sparkle.

The whole is dry, yet vibrant,

A wooden flute in its hand. It plays and plays
Tracing names on things, new
Names, each fairly buzzing with life.
They whisper to the ear.

Who understands them? Spoken,
They are gone. One gets no second chance.

Interpretive Note:

A simple poem that tries to capture a single moment of heightened awareness. The poet is walking in the park on a sunny day, perhaps one in autumn. The sunlight is warm, dry, but not hot. It plays among the branches of a pine tree. Suddenly everything seems radiant, vivid, and fully present. Then the moment is gone.

Recollection—or interior mindfulness, where one is present in the here and now to what is around you and within you—is a human state which can be acquired and practiced. It is not prayer itself, but undergirds prayer as, in such moments of interior self-awareness, we become intently aware of the presence of God, not through a vision, but through an act of living faith. 

Had the poet moved from the moment of heightened awareness he experienced in the park to a moment of attentiveness to God’s presence within or around him right then and there, then the poet would have moved from the state of recollection to the prayer of recollection.

Who knows? Maybe he did. 

Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD

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