Thursday, May 12, 2011

Le Secret


Since I am 
Somebody’s dream, 
I have a good life.

Sometimes I go away in my sailboat on a cloud 
and take a quiet little trip.

I have a secret
which I have learned how to read inside myself;
if I told it to you,
it would make you laugh.

My heart is naked
and no one can put clothes on it, 
and nothing can be put on
that will not immediately fall off.

My secret is ignorant, 
it doesn't sing songs,
no lie,
it has nothing to tell you.

My two eyes
are maps of the planet—
I see everything
and nothing upsets me.

Just now
I was in China
and saw there a great piece of happiness 
that belonged to one man.

And I have been to the center of the earth, 
where there is no suffering.

If on your loneliest nights, 
I visit other planets
and the most secret stars of all,

besides being no one, 
know that I am you 
and everybody.

But if I go away
without giving you a name to remember me with,
how will I find
the right dream to return to?

You won’t have to mark down
on your calendar that I am coming back; 
don’t bother to write me into your notebooks. 
I will be around
when you aren't thinking about me,

without hair or a neck, 
without a nose and cheeks 
no reputation—
there won’t be anything.

I am a bird 
which God made.


~ Thomas Merton
 from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton
 translation by William Davis
with thanks to noornalini