Friday, August 24, 2012

A Blessing for your Weekend

Feeding Pigeons in St. Peter's Square
Photo Credit: Mark Grace
Feeding Pigeons In Saint Peter's Square

We rise early before the sun 
bounces out of bed, slipping behind gray 
clouds to light St. Peter's Square

standing there surrounded by statuesque
apostles and saints, popes and martyrs
we feel small, foreign, strangely

out of place, expecting any 
moment to see the heavens 
open, a ray to glance down 

on Paul or Peter, certainly not
Jesus, more than likely someone
unknown like Norberto or

Tibaldo, Costanza or Pietro
Nolasco, Atanasio, Andrea,
Filippo Neri or Giovanni,

enkindling marble, 
enlivening sightless eyes, 
lubricating mute tongues

to condemn our Protestant heresies,
prophesy against our tennis 
shoes and Bermuda shorts, 

pronounce us unfit,
unwelcome to stand on ground
venerated by ecclesiastical royalty,

we turn slowly, surrounded 
by God's lions unsmiling, 
preternaturally still, 

Instead comes an old man
and two girls, one with a pacifier 
clutched firmly between her teeth,

they lead a kit of pigeons all underfoot,
cooing birds, giggling girls, old
man offering seeds to his accomplices 

swinging arms toddler stiff, sowing
chaos among the all-too-busy 
pigeons as we watch, bemused,

Everyone speaks Italian, giggles and 
squeaks in Italian, coos and gurgles in 
Italian, so I cannot be sure,

But I think I hear a wisp of 
Latin, a blessing for a clutch of 
slow-tongued Baptists

"Dei plena sunt omnia"

R. Mark Grace

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