Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - September 1

With My Writing Pad in Purgatory

This morning, under a cobalt blue sky, summer having abruptly ended, I am beginning the book of Job. It is not warm enough to sit for long in the shade of the cedars. The woods are crisply outlined in the sun and the clamor of distant crows is sharp in the air that no longer sizzles with locusts. And Job moves me deeply. This year, more than ever, it has a special poignancy.

I now know that all my own poems about the world's suffering have been inadequate: they have not solved anything. They have only camouflaged the problem. And it seems to me that the urge to write a real poem about suffering and sin is only another temptation, because, after all, I do not really understand.

Sometimes I feel that I would like to stop writing, precisely as a gesture of defiance. In any case, I hope to stop publishing for a time, for I believe it has now become impossible for me to stop writing altogether. Perhaps I shall continue writing on my deathbed, and even take some asbestos paper with me in order to go on writing in purgatory. Except that I hope our Lady will arrange some miraculous victory over my sins that will make purgatory unnecessary.

September 1, 1949 II.364-65

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