Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Evening of the Visitation

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.

                                          Thomas Merton


  1. Mary,
    I love Thomas Merton's writings, but have never come across this one. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. You're welcome, Karin. It's so beautiful, isn't it?

  2. Merton really can be poetic, too can't he?
    I keep meaning to thank you for keeping my memoir on your sidebar. The sales have gone way down (I am not good at marketing my own stuff) but it is still helping people.
    And that is the reason I wrote it. I always said, if I helped one survivor with this book, it was all worth it.
    God bless you, Mary!

    1. I love his poetry, Colleen. My favorite is To the Immaculate Virgin on a Winter Night but this one runs a close second.

      Your book definitely helps people, Colleen. It's a powerful book and it has a permanent spot in my sidebar.

      Hugs and many prayers, my friend!

  3. OK ... confession time.

    I thought you wrote this Mary; and thought it was great. Then I read "Thomas Merton" at the end ... and thought "well, not bad I suppose!"

    God bless.

  4. Lots of laughs! (I'm afraid to write lol after your recent post!) Thomas Merton's poetry is amazing - it's a grace to even be able to read it. I always put "To the Immaculate Virgin on a Winter Night" up and I thought I'd put this one up for a change.

    God bless you too, Victor! Thanks for all the free "history lessons" on your blog!

    1. Another History Lesson on my Blog tomorrow. But more important, thank YOU for all the good posts here which make us think more deeply about our Faith.

      God bless.

  5. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    God Bless.

  6. That's lovely! Thanks for sharing. It has such a gentle beauty.

  7. Hi Mary! Just reading this piece made me feel so peaceful inside...gotta love Merton.
    I think I often miss the small story in the larger one. Of course it was night times too when she traveled to see her cousin. And she walked in safety and in the awe of all of nature.

    Wow. I could meditate on this poem all day. Thank you!