All I have are photos

To imagine your life

I’ve read some of your books

And the books of others about you

I want to know you, befriend you, hang with you


I want to enter your cell to see how you sleep

To lie on your bed

Watch you at prayer

Follow you on walks in the meadows and hills of Kentucky

To attend you’re mass

Watch you write

See you look up and pause in thought

See where and how you dine

Hear you lecture to young monks

Stand beside you as you light a fire in the hermitage


But all I have are pictures

And books and poems and journals and letters

I want to be you Tom

Watch you take photos and see them

Hear you sing chants before daylight

Stand behind you as you write your novel in the rental cabin on the hill near    Olean


Eves drop on your conversations

See you kneeling, sitting, and working in the forest

Catch your smile, a Merton smile that lights up your whole face

Be at your bedside when you were hospitalized in Louisville

Stand on the corner of Fourth and Walnut when you had your revelation


Oh Tom, come for a visit, you’re invited

Yet all I have of you is on my shelf and a favorite small copy of a painting…

A small icon of you in lotus posture with a gold halo behind your head

You’re not a martyr, you are a holy man

I want to be in the Abbots room when you are there


I only met you when I was 63

When a friend Carl told me about you

I am blessed to have your name as well



Tom Stock

Tom Stock has been involved in the Long Island environmental and outdoor education community for decades.

He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.

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