That those two pupils behind him might earn
Byzantine haloes, St. Francis preaches.
Their hands and faces leak learned concern:
The birds, alert, dark, large Hitchcock screeches
Eerily hushed perch like some strange shadow,
Watch like the unconscious, wait like death....Still,
Francis points out, their bird-brain may not know,
But they, still capable of
flight, know hill
And flowered vales compressed formality
Like a fountain, or Christmas tree in snow,
Stylized walled tower of nested city,
Secret haunts their Creators breezes blow
This closed book in my hand spells this design:
Stigmata, blood they drink
this surest sign.
Note: "St. Francis Preaching to the Birds" is the
center detail from the St. Francis Altarpiece.