You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2010.

Here’s a great site for more information on Black  (African American) History Month that emphasizes the history of black economic empowerment.

And another chance to hear my poem, “Recorded In Time.”

Merton’s Voice:

Faith reaches the intellect not simply through the senses but in a light directly infused by God. Since this light does not pass through the eye or the imagination or reason, its certitude becomes our own without any vesture of created appearance, without any likeness that can be visualized or described.

Merton, Thomas, New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions, 1961, p. 132.


The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (NRSV Ps 27: 1)

Poet Etheridge Knight – “He Sees Through Stone”

He sees through stone
he has the secret
eyes this old black one
who under prison skies
sits pressed by the sun
against the western wall
his pipe between purple gums

the years fall
like overripe plums
bursting red flesh
on the dark earth

his time is not my time
but I have known him
in a time gone

he led me trembling cold
into the dark forest
taught me the secret rites
to make it with a woman
to be true to my brothers
to make my spear drink
the blood of my enemies

now black cats circle him
flash white teeth
snarl at the air
mashing green grass beneath
shining muscles

ears peeling his words
he smiles
he knows
the hunt the enemy
he has the secret eyes
he sees through stone

Merton’s Voice:

But in moments of silence, of meditation, of enlightenment and peace, one learns to live in the atmosphere of solitude even in the midst of crowds. Not “divided,” but one with all God’s Love. …One opens the inner door of his heart to the infinite silences of the Spirit, out of whose abysses loves wells up without fail and gives itself to all.

Merton, Thomas. Love & Living. Naomi Burton Stone and Br. Patrick Heart, Editors. New York: Harcourt. 1979, p. 21.


Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their heart (NRSV Ps 119: 1-2)

Poet Etheridge Knight  – “The Ballad of Birmingham” and “Ilu, The Talking Drum”

I have a new poem, “What Others May Know, What We Knew,” on Here, Where I Am, Kathryn Stripling Byer’s Poetry Blog.

The poem is among a group of poems about losing the animals we love.

Thank you, Kathryn.

Merton’s Voice:

To have a “wise heart,” it seems to me, is to live centered on this dynamism and this secret hope – this hoped-for secret. It is the key to our life, but as long as we are alive we must see that we do not have this key: it is not at our disposal. Christ has it, in us, for us.

The wise heart lives in Christ.

Merton, Thomas. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. New York: Image Books, 1989, p. 212.


I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning (NRSV Ps 130: 6-7)

Forrest Hamer – “Grace”


This air is flooded with her. I am a boy again, and my mother
and I lie on wet grass, laughing. She startles, turns to
marigolds at my side, saying beautiful, and I can see the red
there is in them.

When she would fall into her thoughts, we’d look for what
distracted her from us.

My mother’s gone again as suddenly as ever and, seven months
after the funeral, I go dancing. I am becoming grateful.
Breathing, thinking, marigolds.

Merton’s Voice:

The solitary life then is the life of one drawn by the Father into the wilderness there to be nourished by no other spiritual food than Jesus. For in Jesus the Father gives Himself to us and nourishes us with His own inexhaustible life. The life of solitude therefore must be a continual communion and thanksgiving in which we behold by faith all that goes on in the depths of God, and lose our taste for any other life or any other spiritual food.

We live in constant dependence upon this merciful kindness of the Father, and thus our whole life is a life of gratitude – a constant response to His help which comes to use at every moment.

Merton, Thomas. Thoughts in Solitude. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999, p. 108.


I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness (NRSV Ps 138: 1-2)

Poet Alice Walker – “You Confide In Me”

February 2010