Friday, September 11, 2009

In the ruins of New York

Oh how quiet it is after the black night
When flames out of the clouds burned down your cariated teeth,
And when those lightnings,
Lancing the black boils of Harlem and the Bronx,
Spilled the remaining prisoners,
(The tens and twenties of the living)
Into the trees of Jersey,
To the green farms, to find their liberty.

How are they down, how have they fallen down
Those great strong towers of ice and steel,
And melted by what terror and what miracle?
What fires and lights tore down,
With the white anger of their sudden accusation,
Those towers of silver and of steel?

From Figures For An Apocalypse, VI - In the Ruins of New York (1947) by Thomas Merton

HT to Fr. Z.

Interesting that this poem was written before the World Trade Towers were even built! The North Tower was completed in 1970, and the South Tower in 1971 - both after Merton had died.


  1. Hi Beth,
    This is freaking amazing! I read this out loud to my wife last night. When I told her who wrote it and when, we both got serious goosebumps! interesting you say, rather blandly, you are a funny woman Beth.


  2. :-) ... thanks for stopping by, Sean. Nice to hear from you again!

  3. Beth, my friend Pia posted this on her blog a couple of years ago, and none of us had read it before. Needless to say, we all had goosebumps too at Merton's prophetic vision!

  4. It is strange, isn't it Gabrielle?

    I don't know quite what to make of it.

    Nice to hear from you.


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