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
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Written on 2020-12-28 at 09:44
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