Monday, January 8, 2007

drawings and prayers

drawing by Thomas Merton

One of the books that I got for Christmas is “Dialogues with Silence”, a collection of Merton’s drawings and prayers that were compiled and edited by Jonathan Montaldo. The book is simple, yet very powerful. Montaldo has brought together some of Merton’s most intensely personal writing – his dialogue with God, his prayer.

The art is mostly from the 1950’s, before Merton became more calligraphic and abstract. The most mysterious of the drawings are those of women. By temperament, Merton was always tempted to go his way alone, an Adam without an Eve. Yet his dreams are populated with women and feminine images – a Chinese princess, a black foster mother, and the young Jewish girl whom he named “Proverb”. Proverb visited him again and again.

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