The Despairing Man Draws a Serpent

By Thomas James Merton 1915–1968
I went up the hill
At moonrise.

She swore that she would come
By the south way.

A dusky hawk
Caught up the path
In his talons.

By Thomas Merton, from The Way of Chuang Tzu copyright ©1977 by The Abbey Gethsemani, Inc.  Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: The Way of Chuang Tzu (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1965)

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Poet Thomas James Merton 1915–1968

Biography

A monk who lived in isolation for several years, and one of the most well-known Catholic writers of the twentieth century, Thomas Merton was a prolific poet, religious writer, and essayist whose diversity of work has rendered a precise definition of his life and an estimation of the significance of his career difficult. Merton was a Trappist, a member of a Roman Catholic brotherhood known for its austere lifestyle and vow of . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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