O Francis: a #tankaprose #Ekphrastic #ode

Giovanni Bellini [Public domain]

What was it like, Francis? To experience the wounds of Christ?

How did you do it? You were another noble-aspiring Merchant’s son, fighting for Assisi in another of the Italian city-states endless wars. Was it the illness you endured during your captivity? Did that brush with death open your eyes to the Truth?

How did you have the courage to do it? Cast aside your priviledge, your protection, your future? And did you really strip the clothes off your back in the city square?

Whatever you did, you followed a small, still voice that guided you to make poverty your Lady, to attract in joy others to beg for their daily bread and rebuild the Church. Whether it was the old ruins of one outside Assisi, or the entire Roman Catholic institution.

For in a time of incessant corruption, your simple purity turned Ecclesia upside-down. Even a pope could not deny you. Your charism recognized, your order of Friars legitimized, you continued your revolution of simplicity.

Then, in the winter of your life, you had your ultimate encounter: One last apparition of your savior. And the marks of his crucified life you bore afterward, for the rest of your own.

Now, every fourth of October, the Catholic Church celebrates your sainthood. As foliage begins, people bring animals to mass on your feast day for your intercessory blessing. Fiery red and sungold yellow maple leaves adorn your statues in gardens everywhere. And even as days shorten, the painting of your legendary homily to the birds comforts souls everywhere.

But it is the stigmata that still captivates. That Miracle of miracles, given to you, whom many consider the saint closest to Christ.

What was it like, Francis?

Hunter’s moon

another hollow shadow

across the expanse

the difficulty of loving

with nail-scarred hands

for Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 148 #SynonymsOnly

Poets United’s Pantry of Poetry and Prose: October Is Hereโ€ฆ (posted by Magaly Guerrero)

dVerse Poets’ Poetics: On Profiles & Portraits (pubtended by Anmol (HA))

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31 replies »

  1. You just prompted me to finally buy a St. Francis statue and place him near my birdfeeders (but far enough away he won’t get pooped on! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I shy away from organised religion, but I do appreciate and admire strength of faith. I learned a lot about St Francis from your haibun, Frank; I didnโ€™t know that he had been captured while fighting for Assisi, nor that he bore stigmata.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was wondering what this had to do with October, but then the Hunter’s Moon clued me in. You obviously know ecclesiastical history a lot better than I do! Like Kim, I was unaware until now of some of the details about Francis โ€“ a saint who appeals even to Pagans like me, because of his love and respect for the animals.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an interesting piece โ€” there is so much to learn, in terms of history and religion, from your well-worded prose. It’s good to know that there is a patron saint for the environment (we so need them today). I really liked your tanka too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fascinated by that last line about t”the difficulty of loving with nail-scarred hands? Makes me think the final blessing?/curse? of the stigmata may have made Francis question his whole life of love just as it was coming to a close. Is that what you meant?

    Or where you admiring the stamina of his love, reflecting that of Christ who did tell his disciples if they loved him to be like him?

    Interesting questions to contemplate.


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