The stone pillow
The stone pillow of Saint Francis,
the sting of snow under his feet,
his empty belly, the tender stigmata –
all he took to be blessings
because they kept him
from going back to sleep.
I have not been a lover of God
but a lover of comfort and conformity.
A stone pillow is so discomfiting!
It will not bend to the contours of my dreams.
Yet there is a certain attractiveness to it,
(within the dark cave of my solitude)
a silent, loyal simplicity and immutability
I must learn to lie down with
until my shape conforms, my dreams cease
and I awaken like Francis to the truth of myself.
O child of God, when you rise from that pillow,
the Mystics say, you will never go back to sleep.