Monday, June 8, 2009

Night Prayer

It's 11:50pm - I am sitting in my upstairs office - window open - soft rain outside. I would say it's time to hit the sack, but it is so quiet up here - if I go downstairs to bed - it will be morning, and I will be in my van again, on my way to New York, battling the traffic on the GW Bridge. So, I'll wait a bit longer.

I have some wonderful books here in my office. Right now I am thinking about Merton. Always on my desk, "The Intimate Merton." I don't know how many times I've read this book - but I always find something new. "New Seeds of Contemplation", "Faith and Violence", good Merton books, though I can't say I really understand them. But I try.

Sitting here, I thought, what should I post? So, I picked a Merton poem called "Death." It was written in 1944. Very appropriate for 11:50pm. The day is dying now. Time for Night Prayer....

My evening request of God? - Please give me the same faith in YOU, as the faith I have in the coming new dawn.


Where are the merchants and the money-lenders
Whose love sang in the wires between the seaports and the
inland granaries?

Is the old trader any safer than the sailor sent to drown
Crossing the world's end in a wooden schooner?
Where are the generals who sacked the sunny cities
And burned the cattle and the grain?
Or is the politician any safer in his offices
Than a soldier shot in the eye?

Take time to tremble lest you come without reflection
To feel the furious mercies of my friendship,
(Says death) because I come as quick as intuition.

Cliffs of your hangovers were never half so dizzy as my
infinite abyss:
Flesh cannot wrestle with the waters that ire in the earth,
Nor spirit rest in icy clay!

More than the momentary night of faith, to the lost dead,
Shall be their never-ending midnight:

Yet all my power is conquered by a child's "Hail Mary"
And all my night forever lightened by one waxen candle!

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