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Saturday, February 06, 2010

From The Saint Francis Poems

by David Brendan Hopes

Clara Scifi Consults the Flowering Crab Concerning Her Lord Obedience

I have been obedient two or three days together.
I danced for the one-eyed fiddler man,
gave bread to the rich to make them wonder.
I held a cardinal rose between my teeth
to see them blush, the grave young men,
too young
to blunt their hearts on God.

I have done sometimes what must be done.
I kissed lepers on their aching mouths.
I lay in bed a whole day
and made my sisters bring me
trays of apricots and yellow cream.
I heeded you, my savants,
sustaining bones, wise feet, lungs

ever simple in the sea of air,
hands, nerves, attentive blood
flowing through, finding where I hunger.
I learned your ways and followed,
so to keep this world,
this hurly-burly beauty,
this beast hock-deep in stars alive.

A ragged man knocked at my father's door.
Not the first nor the second time
that he said follow me did I understand
it was no request.
Thereafter I have ridden my bare feet
through briars and my rough smock
through doorways where my friends

remember me in miniver and vair.
My ragged saint said, Grieve, Clara.
The world does not remember you.
So in obedience I grieved till I grew merry in it,
and when he said rejoice , I did not know how.
I built jubilation from the ground up.
I made my soul a body dancing over mirrors.

I have been obedient two or three days together.
I have stood looking out to sea
as though the Lord my Lover would return
beneath a billowing sail.
I've stepped into thieves' firelight, and begged,
and they gave, fearing to come
between me and my furious acquiescence.

I've perplexed the dying with a joke,
because the time was commanded
to be glad in.
Always I have walked beside sir ragged bones
waiting if he said rise up
to rise, and if lie down to lie on straw
and dream of satins where I lay before.

I have been obedient but for the day
I crept cat-like back into my father's garden
where the flowering crabtree wore her Whitsun,
all scarlet in the sky-blue town.
Through my rags and boils
she knew me.
As when I was a child I curled

my hurts against her. Then I heard
the crabtree say, Abide. Abide.
I've kept my flowers for you an extra day.
Take the dry spear out of your side.
Pack the prickly crown away.
Sit in my shade and think your thought
of what are the goods and what's the price,

of who has loved you and who cannot,
of bony saints mewling in paradise.
I am pink in the sad gray town.
I am fire in a field of ice.
Why'd storm kiss me when it blew the steeples down?
I shake out my beautiful hair and go
round her and round her, and do not know.


Anonymous Paul Maurice Martin said...

So... what do you think it means?

Seems like the author's last name refers to one of its themes, or is that just what's been preoccupying me, lol...

10:42 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Paul,

I have no idea hat it mens :) but his name reminds me of your recent post.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Paul Maurice Martin said...

Yeah, actually I think it's one of those poems you could write a five page essay about. I like it but too tired to try and figure out exactly why although my first impression is it's because it addresses both a far-reaching hope and an immediate love of the present.

Your "palcou,"
(They must have decided to make word verifications all read like words to be easier to type fast? Seems like it used to be only once in a while that they made "words.")

2:03 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Oh, I forgot I had word verification going. I didn't used to and then one night I saw that the same spammer had put comments on almost 100 of my posts. It took forever to gelete them all, and they kept happening as I was deleting them :) Maybe now it's safe to go back to no word verification.

3:44 PM  
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4:57 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

see what I mean? Argh!

6:53 PM  

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