Ina D. Coolbrith
Vision Of Saint Francis, The - Poem by Ina D. Coolbrith
Francis D’ Assisi, gentlest Saint of Saint’s,
Within his garden where the roses grew
That knew no thorn, slept from a weariness
Of overtoil, lulled by the the minstrelsy
Of leaf and bird; and thereto, as he slept,
From out the jungle-side a leopard crept
And at his feet crouched in soft-purring guard:
For all things loved Saint Francis- giving love
To all things-with a heart clean of all ill.
Sleeping, he dreamed a strange and wondrous dream
Of strange and wondrous seas, strange, wondrous shores,
And length of strange and wondrous wanderings
That burdened not; light labor, footways light,
And even pain an acstasy, for borne
For love of the dear Lord’s, Saviour’s sake
And with him walked a Fellowship of Love,
Unsandaled, bare of brow, gray-garmented-
The humble garb he knew since the far day
He doffed his princely robbing for the vow
Of toil and serviture and poverty.
And in the spaces which his footsteps trod
One land there was of great loveliness,
With mountain-summits white with trackless snow-
The living temples builded unto God-
And mighty forest trees that sought the skies-
Such dazzling skies! Beloved of the sun!
And Oh, to the Gray Brotherhood hoe dear
The land, responding with what bloom-
Whose white walls rose to worship, and who gave
Their God into its savage untaught Race.
One space was there where a great crystal lay-
A jewel set within a rim of gold-
Whose waters leaped and sparkled, laughed and sang
To its great City of the Seven Hills-
And lo! the city bore Saint Francis’ name! . . .
The Saint awoke, and trembling, turned to prayer:
‘Ah! blessed Christ.’ He saught, ’what is my fault
That even in a dream such pride be mine?
I seek no honor save Thy will to serve.
If this Thy will, yet grant me this alone,
That unto Thee I may reconsecrate.’
And long years passed, and the great City grew
Of all the earth the queenliest and most fair;
Leading in knowledge grew:
Teaching all truth as Truth was given to Man;
Aye, beautiful upon the hills and free,
To God, to Christ, divinely consecrate!
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