Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. was an Anglo-American Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.

Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, social justice and a quiet pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews, including his best-selling autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which sent scores of World War II veterans, students, and even teen-agers flocking to monasteries across the US, and was also featured in National Review's list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century. Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton has also been the subject of several biographies.


Thomas Merton Poems

For My Brother - Missing In Action 1943

Sweet brother, if I do not sleep
My eyes are flowers for your tomb;
And if I cannot eat my bread,
My fasts shall live like willows where you died.... more »

A Dirge

Some one who hears the bugle neigh will know
How cold it is when sentries die by starlight.... more »

East With Ibn Battuta

1. Cairo 1326
Cloisters (khanqahs) of Darvishes
Built by aristocrats
Have silver rings on their doors... more »

Thomas Merton Quotes

Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of a chill from within the marrow of your own life.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968), U.S. religious writer, poet. The Seven Storey Mountain, pt. 1, ch. 3 (1948).

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