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

The Hours ~ 4 Poems – Part 2


Noontime:  Sext
~The Angelus

The Lord watches over you,
like one who shades you from heat
He is right there, at your right hand.
            (Ps 121:5)

The pealing bell, each chime shaped into a ball,
Rides the air like soap bubbles.  "It's a splendid gesture,
Overlaid with the colors of the rainbow, as if a flock

Of butterflies spread their wings, rose up, and flew away.
How magnificent!"  These are the words I whispered,
Breathlessly, as the sound alighted twelve times

In the palm of my hand.  Ding.  Dong.  Ding.
Dong.  Well, I guess the time’s up!  Thus the bell pleads,
Its lowliness stirring my heart which, in its own shy

Way, tries imitating the bell, carrying
Its rhythm forward in a slow march of its own.
Remarkably the attempt manages to pull off a poor,

Yet recognizable echo of the chiming bell's airy,
Vacuous syrup since, in the end, the sound fits perfectly
Nowhere else than in the muddy puddle of the daydream

That's sloshing about in my brain.  In the same way,
The bell, for its part, embraces its own unbridled essence
By repeatedly muscling its soul out into the air and, one

By one, saving each separate chime from the savage fate
Of being left out on its own, a lone, frail tone
Shoved in under the jagged silence of sunny noon.

Yes, above me a bell tower has begun its noonday
Majesty, and the street that's stretched out before me
Is thoroughly steeped in the sound’s swelling rapture,

The feel of it engulfing me tone by tone, chime by chime.
Although a billion years from now oblivion awaits us all,
The Spirit from the very start took up that tedious,

Yet immeasurably loving task of widely sounding out
Our names, each in its turn.  "When We Three
Open the book, there it will be, your very name, first

On the list”—So the Spirit once informed me.  “And,”
It said further, “The words I Am shall slip free from Us,
Riding the rush of wind that rings out far and wide,

O’er hill and dale, clamoring like struck thunder,
Demanding the fulfillment of Our love.  Thus,
On that day, I Am shall be your name forever.”

Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD
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