Thomas Merton On Being ‘TAINTED WITH POISON’


~ photo and poem by Thomas Merton ~


Paint Cans - photo by thomas merton


We must be wary of ourselves when the worst that is in people becomes objectified in society,

approved, acclaimed and deified,


when hatred becomes patriotism and murder a holy duty,

when spying and delation are called love of truth and the stool pigeon is a public benefactor,


when the gnawing and prurient resentments of frustrated bureaucrats

become the conscience of the people and the gangster is enthroned in power,


then we must fear the voice of our own heart, even when it denounces them.


For are we not all tainted with the same poison?



~ from Emblems of a Season of Fury ~


Delation (meaning) – to inform, to accuse, to bring down


Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama

Thomas Merton with the Dalai Lama – photo credit unknown


10 thoughts on “Thomas Merton On Being ‘TAINTED WITH POISON’

  1. That’s an amazing and challenging quote, Bruce. I am currently studying Merton with new eyes. I almost can’t get enough, and I’ve found a new appreciation for Youtube! LOL! Richard Rohr OFM is a big influence in my life, and he was tremendously influenced by Merton. As in the quote you’ve shared, it amazes me, although it really shouldn’t, how alive and relevant he seems to be today. I can always trust that you’ll share something that touches me. Thank you.

    • Hi Debra … sorry for the time lapse.

      Yes… Richard Rohr and his associates at the Center for Action and Contemplation are wonderful. I enjoy Timothy Finley in particular and I have a CD set of him and Fr. Rohr speaking about the contemplative experience. Finley is a laicized monk from Gesthemini Abbey who spent time as a student of Merton’s before he left to become a teacher, psychologist and therapist. He’s quite hilarious – also goes to depth. He talks about the humor of Merton as well. Charles Brandt once commented in an interview how when he spoke with Thomas Merton (seriousness aside) he was very down to earth and quite jovial. Heartening, isn’t it?

      I’m going to give you a link here…. There has been a recent book written (The Martyrdom Of Thomas Merton) Although I haven’t yet read it, this link is to an excellent recent independent editorial written by my friend Patrick Jamieson, (from my church days years ago)…

      Although it’s not totally about Merton, it does give a wider meaning to Jesus’ expression “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” I’m glad that you are finding (as I do) both contemporary and timeless wisdom in both Merton and Rohr.

      Stay well down south in Los Angeles my dear friend, in peace, hope and faith – Bruce

    • Yes, Merton was a visionary. The sad thing is I don’t think it’s only the USA treading a dangerous path. No doubt, a clear leader in the field.

      There has been a recent book written (The Martyrdom Of Thomas Merton, An Investigation) showing that there is good chance that Merton’s untimely death in Bangkok was no accident. Traditionally, this has been balked at. Here’s a link to an excellent editorial written about this by my friend Patrick Jamieson. It gives a broader meaning to Jesus’ expression, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.’

      I always appreciate connecting with you Roasaliene via your comments and your excellent posts. Good cheers, Bruce.

    • Lynn – your welcome.

      You know, a big light bulb has come on. Did you used to be my piano teacher (for a short time)? I recognize this because in a recent discussion with Charles, he mentioned he presided over only one wedding at Canadian Martyrs Church – Lynn Reid’s. And then in a comment to Peter on your blog, you mentioned that Charles presided over your wedding. By deduction, I’m realize with quite certainty, that this Is this you… yes?

      By the way – I know I was a lousy student, undisciplined and such. You did begin a love for music within me though. Over time I learned to play piano through chords, etc. Now I have grandma’s old piano here at the cabin and enjoy sitting down for a song – even with grand kids. Such a joy. It was quite a task getting the piano down to the cabin – it took about 6 guys and we moved it down numerous staircases and our old boardwalk. In those days( the mid 90’s) it was before Francis and I built a driveway access.

      By the way – Charles is turning 96 on Feb. 18th or 19th I believe. My humble apologies if I’ve poorly connected the dots here. But if not (and I think not) this is a small world indeed! Good cheer to you.

      With sincere thanks, Bruce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: