Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Evening of the Visitation

I love Thomas Merton's poetry. My favorite poem by him is To the Immaculate Virgin, On a Winter Night  but this one is my second favorite.  Enjoy!

The Evening of the Visitation
Go, roads, to the four quarters of our quiet distance,

While you, full moon, wise queen,

Begin your evening journey to the hills of heaven,

And travel no less stately in the summer sky

Than Mary, going to the house of Zachary.

The woods are silent with the sleep of doves,

The valleys with the sleep of streams,

And all our barns are happy with peace of cattle gone to rest.

Still wakeful, in the fields, the shocks of wheat

Preach and say prayers:

You sheaves, make all your evensongs as sweet as ours,

Whose summer world, all ready for the granary and barn,

Seems to have seen, this day,

Into the secret of the Lord's Nativity.

Now at the fall of night, you shocks,

Still bend your heads like kind and humble kings

The way you did this golden morning when you saw God's

Mother passing,

While all our windows fill and sweeten

With the mild vespers of the hay and barley.

You moon and rising stars, pour on our barns and houses

Your gentle benedictions.

Remind us how our Mother, with far subtler and more holy


Blesses our rooves and eaves,

Our shutters, lattices and sills,

Our doors, and floors, and stairs, and rooms, and bedrooms,

Smiling by night upon her sleeping children:

O gentle Mary! Our lovely Mother in heaven.


  1. Mary,
    I love Merton's writing as well. This beautiful. I especially love the image of Mary smiling on us, her children by night. That thought makes me feel very safe.
    Thanks for sharing this and God bless.

  2. I loved this poem. I've been on some Thomas Merton poetry sites before but I must have missed this one!

  3. Oh, Thomas Merton...be still my heart :-)

  4. Goodness, I didn't know he wrote poetry like this! This post is perfect for this time of yr. Thx for the post. I'll have to tweet :-)

  5. Isn't his poetry beautiful? My favorite poet is still Francis Thompson but Thomas Merton is very high on my list!