He’s wandering the lanes of Assisi
while other men sleep
or find pleasure
in their sweethearts’ arms.

Holy man Francesco.
Il poverello.
All skin and bone
beneath his patched-up robe.

He’s chosen
Lady Poverty’s embrace,
begs for his bread
and shares it with outcasts.

The merchant’s son
who shed his fine clothes
at his father’s feet
and took the narrow way.

He tamed a killer wolf,
some say; calls the earth
his Mother, talks to flowers
and herbs, birds and fish.

Holy fool, roaming barefoot
until a full moon
at the sky’s plumb centre
illuminates his path,

pulls fields and trees
into its orbit
of overflowing light
and he runs to the church,

climbs the tower,
rings the bell,
and summons townsfolk
from their beds.

They wait in the courtyard
for news of fire or pestilence.
Look, he cries, look up
and see the moon!

© 2019, Shiela Jacob

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