St. Francis of Assisi Receives the Stigmata – a poem by James Scannell McCormick

St. Francis of Assisi Receives the Stigmata

That empty town in the background seems to float –
But still, it could be any smooth-walled town,
Just as that sky slowly unrolling its white
Design could be any sky.  But those green,

Shaley foreground outcroppings must be Mount
Alverna.  Though beasts look up – a crane, a mule
A hare, its fur precise and fine – they don’t
Startle as they hear a whoosh, or shy when they feel

Seraphic heat, as light bends an olive
Sapling, its leaves suddenly gold-foiled to just-
Minted coins, descends towards rock-wall and cave,
And presses, presses into the saint’s almost

Horrified face, and into his palms, held out
And curving, a gift of neat, supernal slits.

 – after the painting by Bellini

James Scannell McCormick writes and teaches college English in Rochester, Minnesota.  His third collection of poems is First of Pisces (Kelsay Press).

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