I’m just dipping into ‘A Book of Hours’ by Thomas Merton (1915-68) … Anglo-American, Trappist monk, poet, author on spiritual matters, and social activist.   Here’s part of one of his psalms:

We face our mornings as men of undaunted purpose.

We know the time and we dictate the terms.

We know what time it is.

For the birds there is not a time that they tell,

But the virgin point between darkness and light,

Between nonbeing and being.


So they wake: first the catbirds and cardinals.

Later the song sparrows and the wrens.

Last of all the doves and the crows.


Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us

   and we do not understand.

It is wide open.   The sword is taken away,

   but we do not know it:

we are off ‘one to his farm and another

   to his merchandise’.

Lights on.   Clocks ticking.   Thermostats working.   Stoves

   cooking.   Electric shavers filling radios with static.

‘Wisdom’ cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend.      

I mentioned recently that attempts were being made to re-introduce the feminist magazine ‘Spare Rib’.   This failed to come about because of a legal dispute over the ownership of the brand.   Instead ‘Feminist Times’ has appeared as an online magazine.


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