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The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton$
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Monica Weis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813130040

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813130040.001.0001

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Merging Inner and Outer Landscapes

Merging Inner and Outer Landscapes

Prayer, Poetry, and Photography

(p.93) Chapter 5 Merging Inner and Outer Landscapes
The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton

SSJ Monica Weis

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter focuses on Thomas Merton's inner and outer landscapes, investigating how love of nature overflowed into prayer; how prayer often expanded into celebration of nature; and how frequently, in his years of more intense solitude, inner and outer landscapes intertwined and merged into a new awareness that underpinned his poetry and his fascination with photography, and which prepared Merton for discovering his responsibility for justice for creation. In general, it explores some of the journal entries that witness the transformative process in action and discover how overwhelmingly influential nature is in Merton's spirituality and, indeed, in his full human development. Merton's poetry always moves beyond cursory lyrical imagery and traditional religious devotion to embody his experience of prayer. It specifically addresses “Fire Watch, July 4, 1952” and “Hagia Sophia”.

Keywords:   Thomas Merton, prayer, poetry, photography, inner and outer landscapes, nature

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