When St. Francis spoke to the birds
the birds spoke back.
the marble quarries opened themselves
and the figure of gentleness was born.
The slender arm was extended
the palm cupped
and upturned and though
it could not yet recognize itself
imagination beheld its first triumph
in that effortless gesture.
And the corresponding failure?
Assuming their enthusiasms
would flourish forever,
the white-throated sparrows
daubed their heads with browned-butter.
Now, not even their children recognize them.
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