• On Pope Francis’s visit to the Philippines


    So it comes down to these:
    The faith that moves mountains,
    Hope eternal.
    Shouts of joy and anguish
    At sight of the Pope
    Wading across the immaculate field,
    Through the smithy of our memory of time;
    Cries camouflaging pain,
    Poverty, perhaps despair,
    Rising to prayers for salvation
    In symphony
    With the palavering masses
    From other worlds and far-off places.
    We have not seen
    An ocean or a conflagration, as it were,
    So cosmic and phantasmal,
    In a long time:
    Praise be the Maker.
    And yet we’ve always known
    In our hearts,
    The music of the stars.

    So what is there to fear.
    Among the madding crowd,
    Where draw the line,
    Between the unenlightened,
    And the committed;
    The oblivious,
    And the wide-eyed;
    The will-o’-the-wisps,
    And Jesus’s crown of thorns;
    Where lies the fault.
    Among all peoples
    Struggling to break free,
    Dreaming of paradise.

    We are all God’s children,
    But left perhaps
    To wander around the planet
    On our own;
    What does it mean
    To be catholics or communists,
    Or atheists,
    Does it matter, indeed,
    What faiths we profess,
    If the same golden heart abides
    And bleeds for the poor and the oppressed.
    Though infinite the voices and signs of language,
    Wouldn’t everything align
    In the presence of this caring, loving heart,
    Compassionate, merciful
    Defining with such invincibility,
    Our common realities, locations, ideologies.

    At lease, we owe Pope Francis,
    the truth.

    That for the heartless few:
    The greedy, warmongering capitalists,
    Imperialists and their minions,
    Terrorists and Beelzebubs:
    They all will jettison,
    Be thrown to the pit,
    Where there will be no poetry
    Nor music,
    But the horrible clucking of tongues,
    Shrill, execrable cries
    Of eternal suffering,
    Monsantuan torment,
    Foul smell,
    Untold pain,
    Fighting and unending discord,
    Bodies gangrened and torn apart,
    Twisted faces,
    Phlegethonian rivers of blood,
    And Cocytus and Satan himself
    Buried in ice and freezing dead
    For all eternity,
    In the coldest, coldest, darkest night.


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