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. 
Nicodemus 
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

Christine Interviewed on the Compass Podcast

Christine was interviewed about fasting and Lent on the Compass Podcast. She shares her insights on how fasting can go beyond traditional ideas of abstaining from food and can instead be a way to open ourselves to a deeper encounter with the divine. Christine outlines

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Anne Barsanti

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Anne Barsanti’s reflection The Quiet. I crave the quiet of a new morning. I’ve always been an early riser and am frequently

Read More »