The One Who Leaves Few Footprints in the Snow: To Thomas Merton

He splits wood,
leaves few footprints in the snow
their lives shorter than that of the small
pine tree fire
above which he warms his hands
before dovetailing
the icon frames
before taking back to his hut an ice cube,
water he’ll use at twilight
to make coffee,
its black eyesole indulgence,
its fragant eyesole gratification.

He leaves few footprints in the snow
and they’re quickly swept away by birds
for whom he sows wheat and crumbs
under the window where he reads the Psalms.

Translated from the Romanian by Mihaela Moscaliuc and Michael Waters

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It’s not just for the family. It’s for you.
Margot PattersonJuly 28, 2017
The issue of America dated March 9, 1957, includes an article written by a young second lieutenant assigned to a U.S. Army anti-aircraft battalion in West Germany.
Matt Malone, S.J.July 27, 2017
I thought I had the perfect Catholic fairy tale: Meet and a date a former seminarian. Seven months after I got married, my world was utterly shattered.
Patty Breen July 27, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington in January 2017. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Controversial decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education (school desegregation), Roe v. Wade (abortion) and, most recently, Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage), often are challenged for decades by opponents seeking their reversal or limitation.
Ellen K. BoegelJuly 27, 2017