The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Citation of Books Detail

Click here to return to the main list

Author QuotedSaint-John Perse
Title QuotedExcile: and other Poems
Date (Year/Month/Day)1957/09/22
Imprint[S.l.] : [s.n.]. 1949
QuotationTremendous religious power and purity of St. John Perse's Rain. Four lines like the prophetic books of Blake, but a sane and ordered Blake in communication with the world. I mean the lines: "Dressez, dressez, à bout de caps, les catafalques du Hapsbourg, les hauts bûchers de l'homme de guerre, les hauts ruchers de l'imposture etc. etc." ["Raise up, raise up, at the end of promontories, the Hapsburg catafalques, the tall pyres of the man of war, the tall apiaries of imposture."] St. J. P. writes like the prophets of the Old Testament and like the Greeks atthe same time. But never copies them, never mimics them, never borrows their expressions. It is all new and his own. A great effort of sincerity and detachment.
Quotation SourceA Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk's True Life. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3, 1952-1960.; Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1996, p. 121-22
Link to Merton's Copy