Scenery of the Heart

All spoke
Longing, world’s
Mother-tongue – confided
It softly, in whispers;
All, in short, was the
Scenery of the heart: First,
The iron-work door, deep and
Ponderous – over there;
Then the sill, yonder: an eternal blue;
Next, visible through the window,
The birds: their
Song what
In me was unsingable…
And finally, the vintage divan,
Redolent of seasons passing
– Just opposite:
Scrolled feet, from the deepest
Core of some ancient oak;
And the upholstery,
Resounding, as of the sea…

Yes. They were your eyes. All the color
Of rest and repose not yet attained.

Was everything
In me
And a vision
Of you,
Beyond all telling,
Past all guessing,
Further than the far side
Of all previous imagining;
A gift that made me to remember
What I had never,
And yet have always,



True Romantics

The saints are the greatest romantics of all history: They take the greatest risks in the name of Love. They live and die only for Love. So too is it with their longing: It can’t be contained or encompassed, only deepened into ever widening vistas.

Amo ergo sum

The Spirit, as von Balthasar rightly says, is the “reality of mutual presence and indwelling.” This is the core and essence of prayer. The Spirit enables prayer (which is the basis of, and in some sense, already in itself, eternal life) by enabling us to share intimately, like a lover, in the inner life of God. And so, to be made in the image of God is to be created with this capacity – not so much for rational thought (as many in the past have claimed), but for love. Love is what makes man man. The fullness of life consists, then, in shared life, in a life of mutual self-giving. God, through Jesus, initiated this movement. It all boils down to this one, simple fact: God’s interaction with the human race runs lie a love poem. Our life itself is a love poem unfolding.  

Avoiding It

Kahlil Gibran

You have asked me,
Several times now,
If ever
I would put my love for you
Onto the page,
If ever I would express,
For the world to see and
Hear it, what blessed thing
Blossoms, daily,
In the close spaces
Between us

Why have I demurred?

Perhaps it is because I
Am still so very young
In love’s estimation;
Because love, and I mean,
Of the authentic kind,
Has – grail-like, fugitive – eluded each
Fevered grasping, every 
Nervous essay, into its domain.
It doesn’t help, either, that this

Love, so-called, has everywhere become
The manhandled bromide of
Every half-feeling songster of our age.
The poets of the past –
These at least knew something of great feeling:
Their hearts would swell into melody
Under august rivers of feeling,
Grow immeasurable, boundless, eternal
– So wondrous and sublime
Were they their maidens
In the expectant, sun-wide eyes
Of their estimation.

But these ones, too, sadly,
They knew real love
Only from afar,
In the same way
That an exiled generation will, dimly,
As in shadows,
Envisage the
Green hills of their forefathers’
Native land, mellifluous with
Bird-song and laughter;
These ones, I say, only spoke of love
In the way that they did,
Because they had not yet been
Into it’s bewildering landscape:
Love, so often a bitter crucible of
Was for them merely the
Exalted abode
Of rapture,
Pure and unending:
A cup, from which
The ambrosial distillation
Of their yearning
Could be drunk and drunk,
And forever drunk,
World-without-end; a
Chalice that would feign,
Lover’s lips upon beloved’s,
A consummate and indissoluble
End to that ceaseless yearning
With which we are all born
And must bear,
Like a fateful burden,
All our long and heavy lives…
– They never guessed what
Lurked, like a poison, hidden and sable,
At the bottom of that disgorged delight,
What swam in waiting circles
On the mute floor
Of their ecstasy…

And so, if there is anything I can say,
I suppose it is this:
That the journey towards another
Is really a pilgrimage
Into deep solitudes,
A going-forth into starless
This is the path
With which we
Must all contend,
Must wrestle with, and wrestle with,
Ceaselessly, if we are
To become ourselves.

And you, dear, you
Seem to know this, better than
Most – seem to grasp,
As if it were grafted into your very
Blood, the secret
Which, deeply, soundlessly,
Courses through all living things;
That Wisdom that in everything
Burns softly, like hearth-ember –
And then will flash out suddenly,
As in the startled flush
Of thrushes’ wings, or
Within the holy stillness of the forest,
When one is alone there
Among the silent stature
Of all the trees…

For all this, and more,
Do I love you, though I
Am still so very young in
Love’s estimation



At the base of the mountain, at
The point where the folds of her
Bosom, like furrowed satin, tumble
Downward into graceful, flowing rivers
Of rounded foothills, and
Join the darkening flat-pan below,
There is a place
Where one can sit alone, or stand,
And under the flickering faces of all the stars
A Presence, dark and holy, feel it
Descending out of vast spaces,
Out of chaste silences –
Something like the Mystery of this life…

Inclining like a kiss
It strains into fingered pierce-point
To rive ribs partite, then
Brand all labored breathing with
An effulgence of song
– set a holy rumor through
The stagnant blood and ashen
Members, unto the
Final, rapturous rest of all things.

“Master, it is good for us to be here.
Let us put up three shelters.”


Oh God, and yet…
“He did not know what he was saying.”