The Common Loneliness — Francis Day 2010

On Francis of Assisi Day, 2010

It could have been that Francis
crawled out into the bushes of La Verna to die
like an old alley cat —
scrawny from fasting
and disappointed that his dream turned so human.

Or it could have been that Francis
longed so much for home, he couldn’t resist.
Like the prodigal son,
he came to his senses
and gave in to seeking the meal his holy memory could taste.

Either way, he ended up in the wilderness
and the mountain was a lonely silence,
like nothing but a frightened man
with nothing to offer but emptiness.
And yet he had to keep going, step by step, up the hill.

Either way, he ended up alone,
experiencing the pain both of separation and union —
like a young man leaving home
and like a father letting go,
and he aware of it all, yet powerless before it.

It could have been that Francis
did very few of the things people recalled.
But what believer is not so lonely
with disillusion and desire
that they would dare to disabuse us of their own story?

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