Wednesday, August 20, 2008


(draft of a Merton cento)

The stormy weeks have all gone home like drunken hunters.
Our minds are bleaker than the hall of mirrors.
The moonlight rings upon the ice as sudden as a footstep:
Her words come dressed as mourners
And tremble where some train runs, lost.
Come where the grieving rivers of the night
Will harp forever in the haunted temples.
The little voices of the rivers change,
And wind dies in the empty gate.

Somewhere, inside the wintry colonnade,
As delicate as frost, as sharp as glass,
God's glory, now, is kindled gentler than low candlelight:
And on the holy hill
A shepherd scans the white accounting of the evening star.

O night of admiration, full of choirs!
O white, O modest cloister!
O land alive with miracles,
With veins of clear and frozen snow!
Now I will hear your voice at last
When the white stars talk together like sisters
And cannot go away
Until I plumb the shadows full of thunder.