Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Monk in the World Guest Post: Tom Delmore

I’m delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Tom Delmore’s poems on the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The Kingdom within, is a big shift for me. Raised in the Catholic faith and dad’s mantra of: brownie points and rewards are in heaven only. I am seeing the kingdom in the ordinary. These poems are thresholds to the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of Heaven

The Kingdom of heaven is like
All those truths Jesus spoke
In Matthew’s gospel, I’m sure.
It is also,
Sisyphus without a boulder
Or that fifth ace that’s acceptable.
Shopping and talking and no mask. 

The road is what you expected.
God, in all of us. 
More confident in the light.
The woman at the well comparing
Water to living water or just
That imagined look upon her face.

But I was waiting for that invitation
An entrance, the personal, me.

Jesus was telling all the beauty 
Of heaven and I, like the parochial 
Child, kept my hand raised. Call
On me, it waved.         ABBA
What is the kingdom of heaven
For me?

A place of no pain.

What to Remember

I am not stacking symmetric shapes
Like the Montessori student
On his private mat. My Zen moment
Comes with dry seaweed amongst
Damp, uneven stones. Lapping waves
Don’t speak receding or incoming of tide.
Focus, is the bellwether, the “just so”
‘Tween the billows of my breath.

At three stones I look to see
If I’ve drawn attention
Other than sandflies. My knees
And hips ache-
As if,
They’ve set limits my mind
Refuses to ignore.

At four stones and sand
I make myself quit
Stumble back, gain balance
And tumble into
The short tower of rocks.

Tide aside, I stagger in soreness.


I missed a piece of the kingdom

I missed a piece of the kingdom
Like a well-worn jigsaw puzzle-
I pushed instead of fit.

Large Cezanne women bathers
Called me out
Of fleshy secrecy.

Down the road
        Over the bridge
             To the left.

Stay awake.
What I lost I will not know.
Only perhaps the castle road-

Or a wrestling angel.


You Shall Dine With me this Evening in the Kingdom

I am amazed unscuffing a shell
On a desert dune. Invoking dreams
Of an ocean so huge, so deep, to suspend disbelief.

At the bus stop all concrete and manmade
Two oyster shells,        as if
A gull had preened and set the mollusks,
For another.

Wading deep in shoal awareness
The poor are eating well in the kingdom.

Tom A (TA) Delmore lives in Bellevue, Washington. His books of poetry include Eclipsing F Crow Poems (Little Letterhead Press, 1996); Child is working to Capacity (Moon Pie Press, 2006); A Poultice for Belief (March Street Press, 2009); Tell them that you saw me but didn’t see me saw (Moon Pie Press, 2011). Individual poems have been published in Raven Chronicles and Seattle M.E.N. Magazine. His latest Poem appears in; Take a Stand Art Against Hate. A Raven Chronicles Anthology. Titled: Homeless Vet. 2020 A Thurible of Belief August 2022 in America Magazine a Jesuit Weekly.

You might also enjoy

New Monk in the World Self-Study Retreat!

We are pleased to announce the release of our revised and expanded Monk in the World retreat! The retreat is an 8 week self-study that explores the principles of The Monk Manifesto. The new version includes: Registration is offered on a sliding scale and all

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Naimi Gonzalez

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Naimi Gonzalez’s reflection learning to be present through lectio divina. I am in the beginning stages of learning to be more contemplative

Read More »