The Sermon Of St. Francis


    Up soared the lark into the air,
    A shaft of song, a winged prayer,
    As if a soul, released from pain,
    Were flying back to heaven again.

    St. Francis heard; it was to him
    An emblem of the Seraphim;
    The upward motion of the fire,
    The light, the heat, the heart's desire.

    Around Assisi's convent gate
    The birds, God's poor who cannot wait,
    From moor and mere and darksome wood
    Came flocking for their dole of food.

    "O brother birds," St. Francis said,
    "Ye come to me and ask for bread,
    But not with bread alone to-day
    Shall ye be fed and sent away.

    "Ye shall be fed, ye happy birds,
    With manna of celestial words;
    Not mine, though mine they seem to be,
    Not mine, though they be spoken through me.

    "O, doubly are ye bound to praise
    The great Creator in your lays;
    He giveth you your plumes of down,
    Your crimson hoods, your cloaks of brown.

    "He giveth you your wings to fly
    And breathe a purer air on high,
    And careth for you everywhere,
    Who for yourselves so little care!"

    With flutter of swift wings and songs
    Together rose the feathered throngs,
    And singing scattered far apart;
    Deep peace was in St. Francis' heart.

    He knew not if the brotherhood
    His homily had understood;
    He only knew that to one ear
    The meaning of his words was clear.


facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button email share button share on pinterest pinterest

Create a library and add your favorite stories. Get started by clicking the "Add" button.
Add The Sermon Of St. Francis to your own personal library.

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson