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MERTON, Thomas


When we are alone

Within the inner wood

Beyond the trackless ways

In elemental sleep

Though evening towns begin to burn

As copper as chrysanthemums

And the far cities flower

Twined in a map of incandescent wires

No voice from those abounding lights

Reddens the darkness of our rendezvous.

No radio has arrows that can find us

Winged after us with aimless jealousy

into the night, our screen.

In the night of my penniless Genesis

The worlds are all too old:

And cities that enchanted me

Die like the clouds, the children of the sea.

For no one finds us anymore, Beloved,

Cradled in the sounding night, the new creation

That you have made for us alone.

For My Brother Missing In Action 1943

Sweet brother, if I do not sleep

My eyes are flowers for your tomb;

And if I cannot eat my bread,

My fasts shall live like willows where you died.

If in the heat I find no water for my thirst,

My thirst shall turn to springs for you, poor traveller.

Where, in what desolate and smokey country,

Lies your poor body, lost and dead?

And in what landscape of disaster

Has your unhappy spirit lost its road?

Come, in my labor find a resting place

And in my sorrows lay your head,

Or rather take my life and blood

And buy yourself a better bed

- Or take my breath and take my death

And buy yourself a better rest.

When all the men of war are shot

And flags have fallen into dust,

Your cross and mine shall tell men still

Christ died on each, for both of us.

For in the wreckage of your April Christ lies slain,

And Christ weeps in the ruins of my spring:

The money of Whose tears shall fall

Into your weak and friendless hand,

And buy you back to your own land:

The silence of Whose tears shall fall

Like bells upon your alien tomb.

Hear them and come: they call you home.

Come, my love

Come, my love,

Pass through my will

As through a window

Shine on my life

As on a meadow

I like the grass to be consumed

By the rays of the sun

On a late summer’s morning

Come, my love,

All through the night

I lay longing

Eagerly to wait

For love’s union

Like dawn’s flower awaits

For the wedding with the sun

Consummated in the light

Your light, my love,

Is stealing my heart

As a secret

I’m left

Like a vanishing form

That leaves no shadows

Exposed naked, alone

Between the heavens and the earth

Lifted high on the cross with the Savior

O life-giving tomb,

Prepared through the night

For dawn’s dying

Like a moon

Like the mansions of heaven

Await the rebirth of a child

New Jerusalem

So come to my life, Light of Heaven

Come, my love,

Pass through my will

As through a window

Shine on my life

As on a meadow

I like the grass to be washed

By the rays of the sun

On the late summer’s morning