Saturday, August 18, 2007

Following Francis

I had the pleasant experience today of looking for--and finding--an old poem. I couldn't remember how it went, even how it started, which is unusual. I looked for it a few weeks ago on some old disks, but it turns out to have been written on the back of a magazine. I found it in my desk at work. I remember writing it, in the main, on my lunch hour on a bench behind Old Main. Even more surprising, I still like the poem, so here it is. (It helps if you have some knowledge of St. Francis' life. )

(in late middle age)

I'm an old soldier, too,
And a failed one;
But lepers I don't hug,
Nor would I beard a pope or sultan.

Not for me the grand gesture:
Naked in the public square?
A whole life lived in thrall to one command?
I like to keep my options open...

But somehow my blind alleys ended here,
And for each good thing I get,
Truly I am grateful;
This feels like winter, but
strangely blessed--

So while I weakly ponder mysteries
Have patience, Saint,
And send me down that angel
With the holy violin;
Though I have started late
on noble pathways
Please remember, Francis--
You died young.