Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a contemplative monk who spent 27 years inside the walls of a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. Only in his last year was he permitted to travel at any length. Even though he was never at Auschwitz this poetry places him there so as to let a generous sensitivity and tenacious faith like his respond to this horrendous calamity. Merton stands for all those who, in the light of Auschwitz, ask the question: where was God, and in so asking expose their belief to severe trial. Merton's struggle with this question was lived out elsewhere. Only the location has been shifted in the poetry that follows.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Edith Stein ~

Was it Edith Stein he saw,
The dark figure in the throng
Treading lightly, gazellelike,
On snow
With head erect but blind,
Seeing nothing, being drawn only
Toward what looked like a bower,
Though oblong,
For nuptials, Merton thought,
Far down the yard
From where he stood watching.

Whereupon he hastened to follow
But was barred by guards with dogs
Who ripped the cowl off he wore
In search of the star
She had pressed
Into his palm while passing,
Her nod saying
She needed it no longer
For it had guided her
To where her Lover was waiting.

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