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Michael G. Smith Thomas Merton

#Haiku Happenings #9: Miriam Sagan presents a haibun by Michael G. Smith, featuring haiku by Basho!

Miriam's Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond

Thomas Merton took a fifteen-day trip to the northern California coast and high New Mexico desert in May 1968. He hadn’t spent much time away from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky during the previous twenty-six years. However, his books were bringing more people to the abbey to see the celebrated Trappist monk. His hermitic life disrupted, he needed the offerings of a different topography. In preparation for his journey to Our Lady of the Redwoods Monastery and the Monastery of Christ in the Desert he wrote

Presence and witness but also speaking of the unfamiliar…speaking
of something new to which you might not have access.
An experiment in openness.

Charitable to the unknown within himself, Merton’s seeking echoed astrophysicists’ search for dark matter, the hypothetical undetectable glue holding the universe together. With no measurable physical attributes, you look for its consequences. Standing at the Pacific Ocean, gazing towards Asia…

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