An Improvisation on Canticle of the Creatures for Pope Francis’ Arrival

Welcome is our brother Francis
who comes to Cuba and comes to Washington,
hoping to shine a light in places
newly reconciled,
hug children, pray prayers.

And welcome is brother Obama,
whose term wanes like the moon,
but still whose decisions are sought
for shining in dark places.

And welcome is brother Congress,
not to be mistaken
for Wind and Air,
for, in spite of storms of politics,
it is through lawmakers
that many receive sustenance.

But most welcome is our sister Earth
who stands like a petitioner
at the gate
of many powers,
with niece Water that is warming,
her cousin Ozone, frail and thin,
nephew Fire that burns
through California,

and orphan child of all of us
Climate, whose change
is called illegitimate,
but who is the sweetest friend
to the psalmist –
let everything that breathes –
praise God.

And in words
of another Francis long ago …

Happy are those who endure in peace,
for by God they will be crowned.

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