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“Contemplation is not a deepening of experience only, but a radical change in one’s way of being and living, and the essence of this change is precisely a liberation from dependence on external means to external ends. Of course one may say that an opening of the “doors of perception” is not entirely “external” and yet it is a satisfaction for which one may develop a habitual need and on which one may become dependent. True contemplation delivers one from all such forms of dependence. In that sense it seems to me that a contemplative life that depends on the use of drugs is essentially different from one which implies liberation from all dependence on anything but freedom and divine grace. I realize that these few remarks do not answer the real question [about drugs and contemplation] but they express a doubt in my own mind.”

“Our technological society has no longer any place in it for wisdom that seeks truth for its own sake, that seeks the fullness of being, that seeks to rest in an intuition of the very ground of all being. Without wisdom, the apparent opposition of action and contemplation, of work and rest, of involvement and detachment, can never be resolved.”

Thomas Merton. Faith and Violence: Christian Teaching and Christian Practice. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968: 217-218.


Tomorrow night, thanks to Tim Earley, I will be joining him in a 7 PM poetry reading at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library in Hickory, NC. The reading is sponsoered by Catawba Valley Community College, where Earley is a teacher.

Here are some poems from Tim Earley’s book Boondoggle, published by Main Street Rag. You can buy Boondoggle here.

Boondoggle by Tim Earley

Thank you, Tim.

Troubles, mostly concerning HTML and achiving, continue at the Dead Mule School of Southern Literuture, but part of the Summer 2007 issue is now online.

Darrell B. Grayson’s chapbook, “Holman’s House” now has a permanent link at the bottom of the Mule home page and “will always be available on the Dead Mule. It is published in memory of Mr. Grayson who was executed by the state of Alabama on July 26, 2007. May God have mercy on his executors’ souls,” according to Valerie MacEwan, Mule editor and publisher (and one of the good guys. 🙂 )

Read poems by Samuel Prestridge and S. Scott Whitaker now. The rest of the issue should be up in the next few days. More information will be posted later this week.

I was tagged to a meme by WW. This meme asks for a proverb. So here’s mine, which is either a bad poem or a good proverb or both.


A careless word may kindle strife.
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A timely word may level stress.
A loving word may heal and bless.


And now I’m taking a holiday from memes. My meme-maker is on “off” until further notice, probably after the first of the year.

In the spiritual life we have to make a distinction between two kinds of loneliness. In the first loneliness, we are out of touch with God and experience ourselves as anxiously looking for someone or something that can give us a sense of belonging, intimacy, and home. The second loneliness comes from an intimacy with God that is deeper and greater than our feelings and thoughts can capture.

We might think of these two kinds of loneliness as two forms of blindness. The first blindness comes from the absence of light, the second from too much light. The first loneliness we must try to outgrow with faith and hope. The second we must be willing to embrace in love.

The Birmingham News staff writer Nancy Wilstach pens an article.


A Moratorium would allow study

“The prosecutor who put Darrell Grayson on Death Row 27 years ago now says he would like Alabama to rethink capital punishment.

The day after Grayson’s execution by lethal injection Thursday for the 1980 rape-murder of Annie Laurie Orr of Montevallo, Billy Hill said he had no doubt of Grayson’s guilt but still would like to see changes in Alabama’s laws.

“I would welcome a moratorium on the death penalty and the appointment of a study group,” Hill said. “I don’t question that the state has the right to do it. I do question whether it is a wise and humane use of our resources.”

read the entire article here

Darrell Grayson has been executed, but there is still time to study and eliminate the death penalty in Alabama and the entire US before others die this same state-sanctioned death. Grayson was the chairman of Project Hope To Abolish the Death Penatly, a group of “inmates and concerned citizens, working with supporters, family members, and advocates, to abolish the death penalty in Alabama and everywhere.”

While those of us who loved Darrell mourn, we must also redouble our efforts to abolish capital punishment.

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

–Philip K. Dick

Thanks to C. Hope Clark, editor of Funds For Writers

I have a new poem, “There Is a Presence,” in the Spring/Summer 2007 isse of Ann Arbor Review.   Thanks to editor Fred Wolven.

Even though our emotional and spiritual lives are distinct, they do influence one another profoundly. Our feelings often give us a window on our spiritual journeys. When we cannot let go of jealousy, we may wonder if we are in touch with the Spirit in us that cries out “Abba.” When we feel very peaceful and “centered,” we may come to realise that this is a sign of our deep awareness of our belovedness.
Likewise our prayer lives, lived as faithful response to the presence of the Spirit within us, may open a window on our emotions, feelings, and passions and give us some indication of how to put them into the service of our long journey into the heart of God.