in silence: “… At the deepest level, Merton experienced the mystic’s profound understanding that silence is a language of its own with as much influence and power as words …” ~ Lynn R. Szabo

in silence merton

Ah! … the inexpressible yet profound, and ultimately inexhaustible, gift of silence … of being … in silence …

Indeed, in addition to articulating Merton’s experience of silence above, Lynn also captures the essence of that which informs Merton’s poetry in this excerpt from the Introduction of his book, In the Dark Before Dawn, that she also edited: “… silence … creates an ethos in {Merton’s} poetry which serves as the bas-relief for the sculpting of sound as an expression of silence, rather than its interruption …”

In Silence …

Be still
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
To speak your Name.
Listen To the living walls.
Who are you?
Are you?
Whose Silence are you?

be still merton

Who (be quiet)
Are you (as these stones
Are quiet).
Do not
Think of what you are
Still less of
What you may one day be.
Be what you are (but who?)
be The unthinkable one
You do not know.

O be still, while
You are still alive,
And all things live around you
Speaking (I do not hear)
To your own being,
Speaking by the Unknown
That is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
To be my own silence:
And this is difficult.
The whole
World is secretly on fire.
The stones
Burn, even the stones
They burn me.
How can a man be still or
Listen to all things burning?

How can he dare
To sit with them when
All their silence Is on fire?”

~ Thomas Merton

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As we’ve done since COVID emerged … Go Fund Me needs to be commended for organizing various campaigns targeted towards COVID-19 relief efforts. All of these campaigns are worthy of our attention … but for now we wanted to highlight TWO critical ones that we have donated personally and also as Stillness Speaks:

Despite the financial challenges that are amongst us all, if your situation allows you to donate and help then …

… please visit  Frontline Responders Fund’s Go Fund Me page … and help deliver crucial supplies to these frontline responders …

… and/or visit  America’s Food Fund Go Fund Me page and help feed the neighbors in need.

And, we again, express our deepest gratitude to a) the COVID-19 Frontline Responders (all the healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses, hospital/medical-services staff – firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers, and any/all the people involved in keeping the “system-at-large” functioning for ALL of us) … and b) Go Fund Me for organizing America’s Food Fund to feed the needy.


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May this song of contemplation … help you realize … the gift of silence … of being in silence … and …

May you be peaceful in your daily rhythm and interactions with others … and …

May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate these troubling times.


Opening quote, above Merton Poem, and all italicized text is excerpted from In the Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems, by Thomas Merton (Author), Lynn R. Szabo (Author, Editor, Introduction), Kathleen Norris (Foreword).
Images: (edited and logo added): Featured and 1) Beautiful landscape by, 2) La Sal Mountains, as seen through Delicate Arch, Arches National Park by dfikar, 3) Anse Source d’Argent by fyletto. All purchased from depositphotos, for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post).


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