Brother Leo gives chapter and verse
on this ecstasy: as if heaven were exploding,
its glory splashing forth in millions
of stars like waterfalls. But it’s the reverse
for Francis on the mountain of Verna
at this moment of stigmata – no flaming
angels but a beefy stripling shoehorning
the stubbled saint onto his seraphic lap.
The landscape is blissful, Francis basks
in the afterglow of some divine happening.
No stigmata, no wound, no bleeding
except perhaps within the saint’s heart?
(The lad-turned-angel is identical to the youth
in the painter’s infamous Boy Peeling Fruit.)
This is one in a series of poems about the painter Caravaggio
Julian Bishop is a former television journalist living in North London who is a member of several London stanza groups. A former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry, he’s also been shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and was longlisted in this year’s National Poetry Competition. He won the 2021 Poets And Players Competition judged by Sean Hewitt with his poem Sitting For Caravaggio.
He’s also had poems in The Morning Star, XR’s Rebel Talk, Riptide Journal, Finished Creatures Magazine and the first few issues of The Alchemy Spoon. He is one of four poets featured in a 2020 pamphlet called Poems For The Planet. Read more at https://www.julianbishoppoet.com.