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

Five Advent Poems – Part 1


The World a Chapel

We live amid song, and it’s
Usually joyful.  The sun comes up,
Birds cry out, we’re startled by it.
Can it be that the world itself
Awakens us?  That it's been granted this power
Of its own, renewed each day
As night passes like the shadow of God
And we return to ourselves?  We wake,
We hear the wind
Brushing the windowpane, a tree limb
In its hand, like the baton
Of a maestro.  Silently the music plays,
And with each breath, yes, there it is
Just beneath the heart.

Interesting how I can recognize someone I know
Simply by the sound of
Footsteps in the hallway.  Yes,
My world is full of such markers:
A cough, a sneeze, laughter,
The way a door opens or closes, soft or loud—
All of it like a field of flowers seeded
By the same hand.  “The eyes
Dull or bright, searching left
Or right among these groves that his glance alone
Left blanketed with beauty . . .”  So it is.  Or, rather,
So may it be, for the One to whom I make myself known
With a cough, a sneeze, laughter,
My footsteps in the hallway, soft or loud, my life . . . The Spirit
Turns and sees me
Hidden behind the silence of this house. 

Cities are cities, their houses thrown like litter
Beside the road.  My
Car slips, the gears catch--it jerks
Forward, the street slick with oil and grime after
A light drizzle.  Nothing here
Is ever clean, for that’s the skin it wears.
Blackbirds flock, perched on telephone lines,
On streetlights, dusty trees, their throats
Grinding out a steely song.  Dark wings are dark
Angels, and everywhere they keep watch,
Their alien brains hard as diamond, glistening
In the gloom of early winter.  In time
Bluebonnets will show themselves
As the warm rain calls out, drop by drop, summoning
Each by name, their short lives
A mere dance, a single, radiant gesture,
A breath of bright air.

Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD
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