Tuesday, July 31, 2012

patmos - “as though nothing were happening”

Robert Lax
Lax’s journal entries from Patmos in 1969 tell of the deep feelings of peace that he felt there:

and I felt all today as i did yesterday that
peace, deep feeling of peace is here, that here is
where i should stay at least for a while (& heal
the nerve-ends), that here things would grow,
things would speak (kal, summoned to mind,
seems a wild, wild merry-go-round from
here.) that here the days would go as though
nothing were happening, but something would
be happening, that i would do nothing all
day long, but toward evening of every day
I’d write (& slowly become) more articulate
almost every time i’ve been here the days have
gone that way: i’ve felt as though nothing
were happening: yet at the end of the year
i’ve found that the work i did at patmos was
(often) the work that stood.

- Robert Lax


  1. First time I've read this, I think. I'd guess Lax had to solve problems each day, be concerned about money, but here he resides in peace and able to grow, not about getting and spending and success with goals. He is opening like a flower and showing a way.

    1. The more I get to know Lax, the more I like knowing him. He really does show a way.

      According to Paul Spaeth at the Lax archives (St. Bonaventure), Lax depended upon his family for money to get by. Merton sent him the dividends from his inherited stock. He lived simply, but still he had to pay the rent and he didn't make it a priority to write for publication. In fact, his writing would be very different if it were written for publication.

      I bet the royalties from his work continue to "pay back" his family members for basically supporting him his whole life.