Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Window

beyond the tossing dispossession
the world's blue furnace
we taste the strange and unutterable
bread of Silence.
A river of emptiness,
original and deep,
descends into our country
like a blade.
Beyond names
and secrets,
a window waits,
in love with the foolish poverty
of forever.

--lks 4/5/12
I put together this found poem from Thomas Merton's Book of Hours while I was on retreat this past Thursday at the Trappist monastery with which I am becoming affiliated as a lay ecumenical oblate.


  1. I like the context of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and Thomas Merton. I often reflect on our world, so much less silent than ever, and wonder how younger people feel about silence. Is it uncomfortable because it's so rare? Or is it welcome because the noise and pace of life challenge teens as well?

    The phrase, "bread of Silence," with its capital S, places it almost on the level of sacrament. Merton's comment about the river of emptiness. . .descending on "our country" is very descriptive our our time and place, as well.

    What a meaningful choice you've made, Laura.

  2. I think younger people do tend to be less comfortable with silence. Perhaps not just them. An acquaintance of mine recently wrote something, too, about how the economically privileged tend to have more access to silence than the less well-to-do.
    As to the order of the words---well, it's my comment as well, really; I spliced these together. The words came from the book but I put them in this order. I kind of put them in columns or clusters according to whether they're nouns or verbs or whatever and then I go from there. I guess I was kind of thinking of the country as the space I was sharing with the retreatants and monks and others at the monastery, but it is so much more than that. I am glad you like how this turned out.


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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or