Epitaph on the gravestone of St. Ignatius of Loyola
“Non coerceri a maximo, contineri tamen a minimo, divinum est.”
(Loose translation…. Not to be daunted or held back by the greatest challenge and yet to be concerned with the nitty-gritty, that is the path to holiness.)
in his monk-gray coat
and his arrowy wings
from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing — but it's neither loose, nor lilting, nor lovely —
All birds are birds of heaven
but this one, especially, adores the earth so well
he would imitate, for half the day and on into the
and so I have to wait a long time
for the soft, true voice
of his own glossy life
and of course I do.
I don't know what it is that makes him, finally, look
but when it happens —
when he lifts his head
and the feathers of his throat tremble,
little flutterings and leapings from the pine's forelock,
resettling his strong feet each time among the branches,
I am recalled,
simply to stand, and listen.
All my life I have lived in a kind of haste and darkness
of desire, ambition, accomplishment.
And something inside myself is fluttering and leaping, is
in outcry, in patience, in music, in a snow-white book.