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Portraits of Thomas Merton

by James Shammas (Age: 53)
copyright 08-16-2005

Age Rating: 10 +

In the black and white of the trappist
You seem a beaming beacon,
Still and solitary, a roving eye,
A sweeping light around the earth's curve,
Revealing all in its path a darkness as bright,
As clear as yourself, and as naked as the sky.

In this one, you walk rugged and free,
The looming shadows and swaying pines
Like a restless mind where you meander
Among both unclean and pristine alike.
You still see beauty in their defiance of God
Which you behold with merciful eyes.

And here, your denim shirt and white 'T'
Betray a manliness like my father,
Hiding husky hands which fashion fragile words
Like a garment district jeweler whose light
Illumines what you've penned for all to see
Through the crystal lenses of your own salvation.

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        01-18-2007     Richard Reed Jr        

Thank you for introducing me to Thomas Merton.
Your piece seems a beautiful and fitting memorial to him.
Another gem with beautiful words and phrases, all arranged so neatly.


        08-19-2005     Mike Macdonald        

You really have a way with words. A lot of poems that are this theatrical with their verses seem like the writer took a thesaurus to an 80's pop song. This is genuine. It's not cheesy, and it's not shoddy. Whatever it is you're doing, I think you're doing it right.

        08-17-2005     David Pekrul        

An interesting piece. I had never heard of Thomas Merton until I read this, so I looked him up on the internet. Thanks, now I know a little more than I did yesterday.

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