Saint Thomas’ Profundity: A Poem

Triumph of St Thomas Aquinas, Doctor Communis, between Plato and Aristotle, Benozzo Gozzoli, 1471. Louvre, Paris. ( domain)

(On this memorial of Blessed Duns Scotus, here is a poem on his near-contemporary, Saint Thomas, by high school senior, Brendan Brunet. If Mr. Brunet thinks that the works of the ‘Universal Doctor’ are very dense and impenetrable, what might he think of the work of Duns Scotus, called the ‘Doctor Subtilis’, as his works are so subtle, that only experts can really get them. Heidegger did his thesis on Duns Scotus, and try reading him. But all tongue-in-cheek aside, Saint Thomas did write his Summa for ‘novices’ in theology, but, like any great master of his art, what seems simple, is actually of inestimable profundity).


Dear Saint Tom is very dense

Rarely does he make much sense.

I read a single phrase—then pause.

What does he mean by such a clause?

And what of things like ends and cause

And all he has to say of laws?

Speaking of laws, I have to say

It is my hope that some fine day

There’ll be a law for stopping those

Who have no sense of truth and chose

Ridiculous names for books they wrote.

Under such a rule, I note,

That Thomas would be justly brought

Before the legal court and taught

That one should never play at games

But rather give books proper names.

However did it come to be

We call Tom’s book a SUMMARY

Of Catholic theology?

He surely owes an apology.


Well, now on second thought perhaps

It’s good that Tom was feeling lax,

For if his simple works confound,

It’s good he didn’t get profound.