“O Lord my God, where have I been sleeping? What have I been doing? How slowly I awaken once again to the barrenness of my life and its confusion. You will forgive me if it is often that way—I do not mean it to be. How little faith there has been in me—how inert have been my hours of solitude, how my time has been wasted. You will forgive me if next week, too, my time is all wasted and I am once again in confusion. But at least this afternoon, sitting on a boulder among the birches, I thought with compunction of Your love. . . . And again tonight, by the gatehouse, I thought of the hope You have planted in our hearts.”
~ Thomas Merton, A Search For Solitude
Painting by Stanislav Yulianovich Zhukovsky (1926)
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes.
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
What we need is here
Poem by Wendell Berry
Painting by Ernst Ferdinand, Silent Christmas (Meissen in Winter), 1854
The hill pasture, an open place among the trees,
tilts into the valley. The clovers and tall grasses
are in bloom. Along the foot of the hill
dark floodwater moves down the river.
The sun sets. Ahead of nightfall the birds sing.
I have climbed up to water the horses
and now sit and rest, high on the hillside,
letting the day gather and pass. Below me
cattle graze out across the wide fields of the bottomlands,
slow and preoccupied as stars. In this world
men are making plans, wearing themselves out,
spending their lives, in order to kill each other.