On the beatification of Pope John Paul the Great

Still, Citizen Sparrow

By Richard Wilbur

.

.

Still, citizen sparrow, this vulture which you call
Unnatural, let him but lumber again to air
Over the rotten office, let him bear
The carrion ballast up, and at the tall
.
Tip of the sky lie cruising. Then you’ll see
That no more beautiful bird is in heaven’s height,
No wider more placid wings, no watchfuller flight;
He shoulders nature there, the frightfully free,
.
The naked-headed one. Pardon him, you
Who dart in the orchard aisles, for it is he
Devours death, mocks mutability,
Has heart to make an end, keeps nature new.
.
Thinking of Noah, childheart, try to forget
How for so many bedlam hours his saw
Soured the song of birds with its wheezy gnaw,
And the slam of his hammer all the day beset
.
The people’s ears. Forget that he could bear
To see the towns like coral under the keel,
And the fields so dismal deep. Try rather to feel
How high and weary it was, on the waters where
.
He rocked his only world, and everyone’s.
Forgive the hero, you who would have died
Gladly with all you knew; he rode that tide
To Ararat; all men are Noah’s sons.
.
.

Richard Wilbur, “Still, Citizen Sparrow” from Collected Poems 1943-2004. Copyright © 2004 by Richard Wilbur.

  • Denise

    What a brilliant connection between first set of stanzas and the last, and some not-so-common insights into a famous “focus on the happy parts” Bible story. Thank you for sharing today.

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

    thanks for sharing this

  • Colet

    I can’t stop thinking about this poem. Reminds me of Isaiah: “There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him.” That was JPII at the end, just like Our Lord….the *real* death-eaters!

    “Forgive the hero”….amazing.

  • http://philosophermoms.blogspot.com Erika

    Oh, beautiful! Just love this poem.

  • Jo Flemings

    Um, not my favorite. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I do not understand much of this poem or how it relates to JPII.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X