Thursday, October 14


I went out on the porch. Nothing. Silence. Vast silence of the woods full of fireflies. The stars. Down in the south the huge sign of the Scorpion. The red eye of Regulus. Just stars. Not a light from any house or farm. Only fireflies and stars and silence. A car racing by the road, then more silence. Nothing. Nothing.

When a car goes by you can feel the alien frenzy of it. Someone madly going somewhere for no reason. I am a complete prisoner under these stars. With nothing. Or perhaps with everything.

I sit on the porch and deliberately refuse to rationalize anything, to explain anything or to comment on anything, only on what is there. I am there. Fireflies, stars, darkness, the massive shadows of the woods, the vague dark valley. And nothing, nothing, nothing.

Is she thinking of me? Loving me? Is her heart calling to mine in the dark? I don't know. I can't honestly say that I know. I can't honestly say I know anything except that it is late, that I can't sleep, that there are fireflies all over the place, and that there is not the remotest possibility of making any poetic statement on this. You don't write poems about nothing.

And yet somehow this nothing seems to be everything. I look at the south sky, and for some ungodly reason, for which there is no reason, everything is complete. I think of going back to bed in peace without knowing why, a peace that cannot be justified by anything, by any reason, any proof, any argument, by any supposition. There are no suppositions left. Only fireflies.

... I want to tell you something, but I don't know how to begin to say it. I am afraid that if I start talking and writing, I will confuse everything. Nothing needs to be said.

-- Thomas Merton A Midsummer Diary for M. 19 June 1966