Friday, November 27, 2015

Thomas Merton: "When the Shoe Fits"


Ch’ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.

His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.

No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits
The foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
The belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
“For” and “against” are forgotten.

No drives, no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
Are under control.
You are a free man.

Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.

"When the Shoe Fits" by Thomas Merton. Text as published in In the Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton (New Directions, 2005), edited by Lynn R. Szabo.

Art credit: Untitled image of California artist Jim Denevan executing a sand drawing. From the artist's website: "Jim Denevan creates temporary drawings on sand, earth, and ice that are eventually erased by waves and weather. These drawings range in scale from smaller beach compositions to large scale land works the size of a city." See more of his artworks here.

1 comment :

  1. This poem has brought me immeasurable comfort and peace during some difficult times. And it has let me focus in a very effective way when it was time to get to work. Thank you Thomas Merton, and also the friend who shared it with me years ago.


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