Friday, December 16, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - December 16
Transfiguring the Ordinary
Yesterday I selected poems for a paperback collection, to be issued by New Directions. Saw that my best ones were the early ones, and that I cannot go back to that.
The fervor of those days was special and young. It can inspire me to seek a new and different kind of fervor, which is older and deeper. This I must find. but I cannot go back to the earlier fervor or to the asceticism but in humanism. What has begun now must grow but must never seek to become spectacular or draw attention to itself--which is what I unconsciously did in those days, proclaiming that I was a poet and a mystic. Both are probably true, but not deep enough, because then it was too conscious. I have to write and speak not as an individual who has cut himself off from the world and wants the world to know it, but as the person who has lost himself in the service of the vast wisdom of God's plan to reveal Himself in the world and in man. How much greater, deeper, nobler, truer, and more hidden. A mysticism that appears no longer transcendent but ordinary.
December 11, 1958, III.237-38