Brother Francis and Sister Moon, a poem by British poet Sheila Jacob
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
Excerpt from the beautiful “Prayer of St. Francis,” popularly attributed to Francis, not written by him at all but more likely by his friend, Giles of Assisi.
Brother Francis and Sister Moon
He’s wandering the lanes of Assisi
while other men sleep
or find pleasure
in their sweethearts’ arms.
Holy man Francesco.
All skin and bone
beneath his patched-up robe.
Lady Poverty’s embrace,
begs for his bread
and shares it with outcasts.
The merchant’s son
who shed his fine clothes
at his father’s feet
and took the narrow way.
He tamed a killer wolf,
some say; calls the earth
his Mother, talks to flowers
and herbs, birds and fish.
Holy fool, roaming barefoot
until a full moon
at the sky’s plumb centre
illuminates his path,
pulls fields and trees
into its orbit
of overflowing light
and he runs to the church,
climbs the tower,
rings the bell.
and summons townsfolk
from their beds.
They wait in the courtyard
for news of fire or pestilence.
Look, he cries, look up
and see the moon!
© 2019, Shiela Jacob
The Illustration is purported to be the oldest surviving depiction of Saint Francis. The fresco is near the entrance of the Benedictine Abbey of Subiaco, painted between March 1228 and March 1229. St. Francis is shown without the stigmata. It’s a religious image and not meant to be a literal portrait. The photo is shared here under License Art Libre 1.3
SHIELA JACOB was born and raised in Birmingham, England and lives with her husband in Wrexham, on the Welsh border. Her poetry has been published in several U.K. magazines and webzines. She recently self-published a short collection of poems that form a memoir to her father who died in 1965. She finds her 1950s childhood and family background a source of inspiration for many of her poems.
Recent in digital publications:
* Four poems in “I Am Not a Silent Poet”
* Three poems in Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
“Remembering Mom,” HerStry
“Over His Morning Coffee,” Front Porch Review
A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor to a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.
“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton