Meditations on Messiaen
A statue of St. Francis stands in the corner
of the roof garden. He holds out his hands
for Plaster of Paris birds to settle upon them.
St. Francis wears a brown, sack-cloth cassock
bound at the waist by a knotted, white cord.
Living birds would come to him, if he called,
but he is silent. He knows the birds by their names,
not the Latin or Spanish names, nor their names
in Mixtec or Nahuatl. He knows their true names,
their own ineffable names that grace each of them
and brightens their songs of colored glory.
Brother Sun, by day, and Sister Moon, by night,
bless him with their soft-feathered gifts of light.
Alas, he is bound to this earth by Brother Donkey,
the flesh and blood body he once wore and now
wears in effigy. Of the earth, earthy, his thoughts
are bent on beating this sackcloth body down
and raising his mind in birdsong that will reach up,
higher and higher until it achieves his Kingdom Come.
In front of him, the Bird of Paradise offers him
that which he most desires, a return to earth
in avian form, winged like a miniature angel
armed with a golden harp and an aura of song.
Click on the link below for Roger’s reading.