The great monk Thomas
Merton fell deeply in love.
He had emptied him-

self in solitude
for years. The void to be filled
by this woman’s love

was bottomless. What
could go wrong? Love’s pleasure is
a revelation.

For Merton—-scholar,
poet, guru of Zen and
prayer—-the passion

of being in love
added new senses: the salt
taste of the loved one,

the dampness scorned by
the Ancients in favor of
aether, surprised, con-

fused him. The words
from her vagina’s soft lips

Of course it was sin.
He laid it by for despair,
pleasure’s true other.

Pleasure, considered
as a mystery, deserves
life-long attention.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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