Monasteries of the Heart

Old Monk's Journal: Journal Entry 223

I had the chance to go South for two-weeks recently. I was anxious to see if I could hit a golf ball with one eye. And, yes I can. Life is good. Reading is still a pleasure and I managed half-a-dozen books, mostly on Kindle where the font size can be adjusted. Of course, writing is no problem, at least not an eye problem. Writing, for me, is always a problem of the will and of self-confidence. I did manage these thoughts.

TAKE ONE A DAY

On my shelf
a bowl
shaped by a master potter—
a gift
to hold my ashes
++

Some days
in order to hear the music
playing inside you,
I must listen
with silent ears.
++

The monk sits
in her cell
tasting the words
of the holy book
so sweet
++

The morning star
like a trusted friend
never abandons
the old monk writing love notes
to the dark
++

Even on vacation
The old monk rises before dawn
to light a lamp
and grasp her beads,
“Divine Mother, mercy.”
++

Each night I pray
to see like the Japanese poet
who watched
a blossom dropping upward
turn into a butterfly
++

To write a haiku
takes more
than counting syllables—
for starters, try intimacy
with loss
++

A deer
on the six-lane highway
too young to leap
the fence, trapped
in the new wilderness
++

Isabella slips into
the booth beside me
in her Belgium restaurant,
listing savory entrees that fill me
without a single bite.
++

An ode
to the full moon
is to praise God’s
first command
“let there be light”
++

It’s pre-dawn. Time
again for the old monk
and a poem
to play “hide and seek”
on a blank page
++

The childhood sound
that shaped
my life
is the melancholy train tone
passing in the night
++

Final miracle:
a white owl in a tree
outside my cell
bathed in falling snow
and moonlight
++

A walk
with solitude
is never lonely,
or so say the saints
and poets

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A blog by Mary Lou Kownacki
A personal journal captures what’s in the heart. Most of my adult life I’ve recorded my notes, brief reflections, poems, reactions to daily events in a journal. It is an ongoing source of monastic formation; the rich and raw material of life that helps shape my Monastery of the Heart. About a year ago, Old Monk began to appear on my journal’s pages. Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, is the Monasteries of the Heart coordinator.

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