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“It is true, political problems are not solved by love and mercy.  But the world of politics is not the only world, and unless political decisions rest on a foundation of something better and higher than politics, they can never do any real good for men.  When a country has to be rebuilt after war, the passions and energies of war are no longer enough.  There must be a new force, the power of love, the power of understanding and human compassion, the strength of selflessness and cooperation, and the creative dynamism of the will to live and to build, and the will to forgive.  The will for reconciliation.” 


From Introductions East & West. The Foreign Prefaces of Thomas Merton (Unicorn Press, Inc. Greensboro, NC 1981) Page 105.

Frosty moonlight

filters through church-window prisms,

striking the cross—

the hungry one crying out of the dark,

words to the Sacred.

In the dark, no one remembers the sparrows.

An old man dreams

about a cheeseburger and hot fries.

Where will he lay his head?

Left half dead outside in the cold,

perhaps, through some oversight,

shivering and naked,

with no bowl of hot soup

to warm his belly.  Might as well be dead.

Holy candles flicker as they burn.

The old man dreams a valid dream.


Dirty children line blasted streets,

sucking babes who cannot cry,

their parched throats

swelling amid the rubble.

Have they no homes, no mothers?

And, oh God—the men.

Yes, the men.  Are they so guilty

as to die for those who govern with

trumped-up creeds, pitting brother against

brother, maiming for life, stealing

divine creation—one-by-one?

The world must lock the door to

keep war out, the people safe.


A woman rises from a third row seat

with stomach churning

and lungs that will not fill.

She’s a Pillar of Fire

who wants to burn like

God’s voice at midnight.  But ice crystals

cast thin shadows in the place where she’s going—

a room filled with strangers.

There’s no make it plain in the buzz of this crowd. 

The woman’s dream divorced from the cross,

small embers in fallen leaves,

the Promised Land in the incensed air—

and all she totes are borrowed words.