“…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and
therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
An Elegy For Ernest Hemingway
Now for the first time on the night of your death
your name is mentioned in convents, ne cadas in
Now with a true bell your story becomes final. Now
men in monasteries, men of requiems, familiar with
the dead, include you in their offices.
You stand anonymous among thousands, waiting in
the dark at great stations on the edge of countries
known to prayer alone, where fires are not merciless,
we hope, and not without end.
You pass briefly through our midst. Your books and
writing have not been consulted. Our prayers are
pro defuncto N.
Yet some look up, as though among a crowd of prisoners
or displaced persons, they recognized a friend
once known in a far country. For these the sun also
rose after a forgotten war upon an idiom you made
great. They have not forgotten you. In their silence
you are still famous, no ritual shade.
How slowly this bell tolls in a monastery tower for a
whole age, and for the quick death of an unready
dynasty, and for that brave illusion: the adventurous
For with one shot the whole hunt is ended!
by Thomas Merton
from A Book of Luminous Things
Harcourt Publishing 1996