Thursday, March 12, 2009

The poet Kilian

The Benedictine poet Kilian McDonnell, of St. John's Abbey in Minnesota, has a new book out: God Drops and Loses Things. His poetry is often a reflection, lectio divina you might say, on scripture passages and stories or on his life events: in the abbey or just on everyday experiences. I have a copy and am enjoying this 3rd book of his poems just as much as the first two.

Here's one that is a fitting reflection, I think, for a pause in the mid-Lenten journey---on the way, as always, to Holy Week and Easter.

"The Leap of Faith"
(Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread.)

After bitter herbs, I place
upon the table my strange bread
and wine, a really hard

saying. Wise men are wary
of this leap over a fisherman’s
tally of the catch, a tax

collector’s pinch of each
extracted coin. The apostles are
accustomed to the logic of ripping

sails and strong boxes
for Caesar’s drachmas, but I lure them
into Because I say it.

When they look down,
no solid ground beneath them,
except my hand upon the table.

Kilian McDonnell, OSB


This is a photo of a unique sculpture of five dancing women. It is located on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution, a summer arts village located about 60 miles east of Erie in New York state. Photo by Bernadette Sullivan, OSB. (Click on it to enlarge and see details).