Thomas Merton's Marian Poetry

Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Trappist monk and priest is recognized as one of the major spiritual fathers of our times. His longing for silence and solitude, his contemplative vision, his engagement with need for world peace through inner life of the spirit, his journey across religious traditions, cultures and disciplines, make him a man for all times but especially for our own. Thomas Merton expressed this vision in his poetry, novels, essays, devotionals, and autobiographical writings.

Statistical Analysis of Merton's Marian Poems

We can make some remarks about the distribution and frequency of Merton's poems. First, let's take a look at the distribution of Merton's Marian poems as they relate to the years of his life. Between1940-1949, Merton wrote twenty-five poems which have a Marian content or theme. Between 1950-1959, Merton wrote one poem that has Marian aspects. Between 1960 and 1968, Merton wrote five poems that have Marian aspects. The last poem that Merton wrote (that has Marian aspects) is called Queen's Tunnel . Now, let's take a look at the frequency of Merton's poems per year.  The most poems that Merton ever wrote about Mary in a year was eight, which he did twice. He wrote eight poems in 1944 and 1946 which have Marian aspects. In 1947, Merton wrote five poems that have Marian aspects. This means that twenty-one of the twenty-nine poems that he wrote (which have Marian aspects) were written in a time span of four years. We can refer to ten of the twenty-nine poems as "totally" Marian. Eight of the ten poems were written in the 1940's: La Comparsa En Oriente, Song for Our Lady of Cobre, The Evening of the Visitation, The Blessed Virgin Mary Compared to a Window, Aubade: The Annunciation, La Salette, Canticle for the Blessed Virgin, and To the Immaculate Virgin on a Winter Night. The two exceptions are The Annunciation (which Merton wrote in 1957) and Hagia Sophia (which Merton wrote in 1963). Conclusion: We can conclude from this evidence that the mid 1940's were the time span in which Merton most felt moved to praise Mary through the art form of poetry.

The Mary Page has gathered the Marian poetry written by Merton. We present to you this collection of poems honoring the Virgin Mary written by Thomas Merton.

Thomas Merton in Pictures

Index of Thomas Merton's Marian Poetry


This collection of Merton poetry and illustrations was assembled with these sources:

Forest, James H. Thomas Merton: A Pictorial Biography. New York: Paulist Press, 1980.
Merton, Thomas. The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton. New York: New Directions,
1977.
Merton, Thomas. Emblems of a Season of Fury. New York: New Directions, 1963.
Merton, Thomas. Selected Poems of Thomas Merton. New York: New Directions, 1967.
Mott, Michael. The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984.
Pennington, M. Basil. A Retreat with Thomas Merton. Warwick, New Jersey: Amity House, 1988.
Shannon, William H. Silent Lamp: The Thomas Merton Story. New York: Crossroad, 1992.


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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by J.C.Tierney , was last modified Monday, 04/11/2011 13:34:38 EDT by Ramya Jairam . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.