Wednesday, November 28, 2007

San Martin de Porres

Can I sing you, Brother Martin,
saint whose hands know work, like mine?
Would that we could sit together,
tell our cuentos, sip some wine.

Soon I'll close the church till morning.
Please guide me walking home alone.
Not a safe place for a woman.
Justice this old world postpones.

Speaking to our sweeping rhythms,
let us plot for those in need.
Can't you scare these stubborn faithful,
with your powers intercede?

Bread you gave to those in hunger,
kindness to the child alone,
held the trembling hand that suffered,
kindness from a man disowned.

Is it true when you were sweeping,
cats and dogs would come to chat,
telepathically you'd answer,
query disbelieving rats?

Brother Broom, with just a handshake,
you could cure a soul in pain.
Oh, I wish that you could touch me,
make these old joints fresh again.

Would that you had time to teach me
bilocation, such a trick,
not that I deserve the honor
and pleading seems impolitic.

You liked flying and liked gardens,
so practice aerial delights.
Come see roses, tulips, daisies.
Can't I whet your appetite?

Ay, that I had seen the shining,
from your oratorio,
in your habit, man so prayerful,
that your very self would glow.

How we come, the dark-skinned faithful,
comforted to see you here,
able to confide our sorrows
to a black man's willing ear.

Your corrido I must finish
for priests frown at such casual songs,
frowning is their special talent,
but still, protect them all night long.

Help me listen to my garden,
cease wrinkled judgments based on skin,
our colored sacks like bulbs or seeds
that hold our fragrant selves within.

From the excellent book, 'Aunt Carmen's Book of Practical Saints', by Pat Mora. This was an instant favorite of mine-- get this book as soon as possible! It is well worth the read.


Father Martin Fox said...


St. Martin is my patron!

Is that a hymn? Can you tell me what meter? Or is it only a poem?

Do you mind if I lift this entirely and post it on my blog? I'll give you credit; that way, in years to come, I'll have this great poem about my patron handy...

Archistrategos said...

Hello Fr. Fox,

This is only one poem out of several great ones from the book I mentioned. The author patterned it after the rhythms and flow of her Aunt Carmen's own prayers. It is really a delightful read!

And yes, you can post it on your own blog, Father! I am glad you found it edifying as well! :)