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 - 2nd in a Series

Previously, I submitted two poems posted on our provincial blog, the Discalced Carmelite Friars - Province of St. Therese.  As part of the re-organization of our blogs, those two poems are being moved to this blog, Poet and Contemplative, as part of a Poetry series. Here is the second poem.  A short interpretive note follows. 

Into Afternoon

We knew all along about the shadows, how
They would collapse under the noonday sun,
How they would desert us, and we would feel lost.

It is their way, their humblest service,
Token of their great good will.
Which way East?  Which North?  South?  There’s
No turning back when there’s just one place to stand.

To think we’ve grown weightless,
Cradled in the air while the whole mass moves forward
Like a slow breeze, the earth sliding away

Obligingly underfoot.  We are children taking their first steps,
Moving through an ocean of blue bathed in black,
And your hands are here, reaching out
To guide us.  Of this we are sure.

The poem is a meditation, even a kind of parable.  Its topic is the faith that carries us along through times of transition in life.  It uses, as a metaphor, the moment of noontime, when shadows disappear, and morning passes into afternoon, to speak poetically of this topic.

It is noon, therefore, and the sun is directly overhead.  Shadows have disappeared, leaving us disoriented, as it were.  But that is a good thing.  Besides, we have no choice.  The earth is moving us along willy-nilly.  Yet it does so with such great tenderness, as though we were infants asleep in our cradles or children taking our first steps.

Thus, we go forward into the afternoon uncertain, insecure, yet trusting in the future.  Someone greater than ourselves is in charge, guiding us along.

Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD
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