The sun is my heart – borrowing from buddhist and catholic monks

Washington State

a poem,  by Bruce . . .


The Sun is My Heart


Borrowing from the Buddhist monk

mindfully, with words

cannot explain away

these falling leaves of autumn

to be digested in the earth

like my dead fathers’ gone away;

as a leaf in the wind

synthesized from the sun,

and now on a humble journey

to join, the great carbon cycle

down in the earth, whence

the tree, the monk, and he came.


With the first fierce fall rains

my torrential tears flow

after the summers

newly scorching sun,

joining the headwaters

and the cold pristine

snows of either dormancy,

(this grieve struck Canadian maple)

or maybe afterlife;

from green to yellow then red

and brown, into its pure

elemental finality, of blackness.


A good man was my father,

compassionate and warm hearted

with a fierce loyalty, the obit said,

a noble and gentle spirit,

said someone who new him.


Reminding me of the Christ

he believed in, though I

a doubting Thomas, wrestling

with this universal God of the cosmos,

gaining courage from a few;

dear friends of my fathers

like the Catholic hermit (with books)

and his Meditations from the Wilderness;

or like the Buddhist monk,

dear friend of my brothers;

with him, I join in: The Sun is My Heart.


Making peace with the absolute,

insensitivities of modern day priesthoods

of commerce, growth, and religion,

seeking common ground

with others, I do join in

with the natural world, I celebrate;

and in the light, are the echoing words

for my father ;  and those parables of life . . .

Well done, good and faithful servant.


October 2007 B. Thomas Witzel



In memorial – M.S. Witzel

July 5, 1921 – July 3, 2007




This poem was inspired in part from Thich Nhat Hanh and his book, the Sun My Heart.


Also by the deep ecologist Fr. Charles A.E.Brandt and his book, Meditations from the Wilderness.


The book was a gift from Charles to my father, and then from my father to me.

I have used quotes from it in many of my blogs.




nhathanh0001c brandt

Charles Brandt – photo by  Nick Didlick




Thich Nhat Hanh  and Thomas Merton

– Google images

33 thoughts on “The sun is my heart – borrowing from buddhist and catholic monks

  1. Reblogged this on through the luminary lens and commented:

    July 5th would be fathers birthday – some of you will recall this memorial post. I’ve added this big leaf maple, a photo taken by Charles Brandt. He was a friend of my fathers. The “Great Work” goes on and each of us must contribute what we can – from our hearts, our intellect or the sweat of our brow… peace to all. Bruce

  2. My brother recommended I may like this blog. He was once entirely right. This put up actually made my day. You can not consider just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    • Thank you Doug. Your comment has brought a happy smile to my face, and I appreciate so much that you have taken the time to enjoy the blog and comment about it as well. Peace and best regards. Bruce

    • Thank you. I remember that at his funeral a humble elder man who I deeply respect for his lifetime work with the disadvantaged and the developmentally challenged, came to me to give his condolences, and he told me that my father was one of his personal heroes. That meant alot to me. I also really appreciate your own comment Tanya.

  3. Pingback: Weekly photo challenge: Nostalgic for solar hot dogs, circa 1979 | through the luminary lens

    • Thank you kindly for these comments Otto. I really aprreciate the sharing of your own wisdom and experiences about creativity and the world and people around us. Your work is a personal inspriration. Best regards. Bruce

    • Thanks ‘smilecalm’ – I often read bit’s and pieces of Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings, but The Sun My Heart was so good, I gave it to another friend David, a few years ago. I miss it sometimes – more than the smart car, for sure 🙂

    • I remember – it is why I was initiallly attracted to your blog.

      In this poem Merton sort of comes once removed . . . Charles Brandt knew Thomas Merton and has had life long inspiration from him – like Thomas Berry (and his Dream of the Earth), as well as other ‘monastics i.e Bede Griffiths and Pema Chodron who have or had similar vocations.

      Merton wrote books, yes – and Brandt is a world reknown book conservateur, along with his equal advocacy for meditation and the earth.

      Peace to you, Seeker, as we journey together in this great story of the universe.

  4. Bruce, this was a stirring poem that clearly was from the heart. The second verse that begins “With the first fierce fall rains…” held incredible imagery and imagination. It sounds like your father had much wisdom that you were the fortunate benefactor of, my condolences.

    • Thank you Ishaiya.

      It is good to remember where we have come from and it is good to be able to share our stories.
      Maybe we (the world) can even create good new stories, to live in peace by.

      Best regards – Bruce

      • That is a wonderful thought Bruce, very heartening actually as this has been the theme of the past few days now, bringing peace to the world. Must mean I’ve been thinking the right thoughts to be attracting so many comments along that vein. You are an inspiration, and I appreciate your input and your wisdom right now.


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