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I’ve been reading Thomas Merton’s “No Man is an Island”
and I was blown away in a chapter called Being and Doing,
This poem is my recount of his words.
On Being and Doing
We are warmed by the fire, not the smoke of the flame.
We arrive by the ship, not the wake in its course.
In the depths, our true self, hidden holy from name,
while our activities dimly reflect their source.
If I ask you to look your own eye in the eye,
you may only claim sight as you regard another.
So you are, in the light of your truthful souls life,
to be found in the grace of the will of the Father.
When you seek to create your own glory’s regale,
you’re an anxious man making a god from your soul.
And the one true real person you would live to unveil,
is now split in two shadows as the enmity grows.
As the shadow once framed your own works worthy praise,
now the one is a thief and the other, a judge.
While endeavors were once the exalt of your days,
now they weigh and condemn; every step holds a grudge.
As the substance of self and its reality
is now absence and shade, insufficient in deeds.
As a shadow would lash upon shadow its pain
for its failure to yield a more promising gift,
so in shadows, are fears, of the things we’ve not gained;
shattered mirrors of virtue, your hopelessness rift.
Where now judgment and hate are the shadows accord,
loathing failure, they share in their one dying breath,
and this self-contemplation brings a terrors discord
as this god of a god hates its own self to death.
So, this man, as self-made, is the likeness now ruined
of the image of He who would love perfectly.
And a man, made and meant to find dwelling within,
an infinite good loving eternally.
If your soul is a good you desire to keep,
you must turn your stiff gaze from the self you would seek.
With the Lord, be content in the Lord as He would
in accordance with all of your limited pace;
for we act in the light of His grace and His good,
as revealed in our love for all others we grace.
The body is a season,
the mind, a timepiece
and the spirit, a cloud passing.