Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a contemplative monk who spent 27 years inside the walls of a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. Only in his last year was he permitted to travel at any length. Even though he was never at Auschwitz this poetry places him there so as to let a generous sensitivity and tenacious faith like his respond to this horrendous calamity. Merton stands for all those who, in the light of Auschwitz, ask the question: where was God, and in so asking expose their belief to severe trial. Merton's struggle with this question was lived out elsewhere. Only the location has been shifted in the poetry that follows.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Arrival Platform ~

Thomas watched what they did
With the child
Who fell from the cattle car
That brought the women
From Warszawa.
How the soldier grabbed it by the feet
And smashed it up against
The steel siding.

Someone saw Thomas rush over
To hold up a trough of tin
To catch consecrated chalicefuls
Of mothers' tears in.

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