Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Visionary

His windows were the ventricles of the heart
and the pages of books.
His doors were the exercise of compassion
and the mystery of love.
He spent freely of himself
to store up treasures of the mind.
The walls of his monastery
were transparent
and he saw beyond the boundaries of faith
to that central region
where all mystics know
the moment of falling in love with the numinous.
In silent contemplation
he discovered the luminous
beneath the surface of everything
and breathed
"Thou art that".

I wrote this at 6am this morning - I woke up and composed the first four lines in my head, and then had to write it down. Then I spent the next hour turning it into a sonnet, but I don't know which version I prefer, so I kept both. It's about Thomas Merton, translator of the Tao Te Ching, among other things. It's sort of an antidote to The Withy King and the Stone King. Here's the sonnet version.

His windows were the ventricles of the heart
And the pages of books. Though set apart,
His doors - the exercise of compassion
And the mystery of love - were open
To the world. He spent freely of himself
To store up treasures of the mind, and he would delve
In forgotten depths to rediscover
The Beloved within the lover.
His monastery walls were transparent.
To him, the place where mystics meet and know,
The region of the spirit, was apparent,
For there are no words for the light below
The surface of things. Only the moment
Of falling in love with the numinous,
A single heartbeat, an endless moment
When the whole landscape becomes luminous.


Joe said...

Lovely in both versions, dear chum, thanks for sharing them.

Yewtree said...

Glad you liked them :)