Letters to Two Priests

Thomas Merton, I used to adore you.
But now I read you with an eye that is,
well, jaundiced is perhaps too strong,

but certainly skeptical, not uncritical.
Your peevish tangles with the abbot
do not endear you to me anymore;

your branding a brother monk "an idiot"

doesn't seem entirely charitable.
Comparing your "plight" (which you

chose, keep in mind) of monastic restrictions
to the indignities faced by Southern Blacks:
seriously? And you really didn't charm me

when you used the epithet employed by
racists: "I know how n-----s feel." (Of course,
if all the stray thoughts of my callow years

ever saw the light of day, well, doubtless
I'd fare much, much worse than you.)


Henri Nouwen, I know someone
who knew you, and who tells me,"
"He was the neediest person

I ever met." We are kindred in that,
dear brother. I always get nervous
when texts or emails go unanswered

for longer than a day, when online
friends fall silent for a spell, or for good,
and when I recall my awkwardnesses,

plural, so plural. And like you, I know
what it is to love someone painfully, one-
sidedly, with desperate inevitability.  

Poetry by Thomas D The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2020-12-28 at 09:44

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josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
Interesting subject and theme, Thomas. I’ve found the “lives of the Saints” to be entirely too lacking in flaws. As a child and young man I revered Merton, Noewen and Vanier as spotless icons. As I grew older I found more and more information that illuminated their flaws. Their humanness. Finally I was able to relate to them much more comfortably, holistically as struggling sinners. I find now I much prefer my Saints to be “Davidian”

nice curtains
A lot to unpack in that lot.......enlightened yet?