Thursday, October 09, 2008

Francis d’Assisi by Gary Metras

Francis d’Assisi 2008
Gary Metras
Finishing Line Press

today’s need for ecological awareness on a minute level - an awareness of being who we are and who we were and who we are becoming; this poem preaches in the same way any poem imparts its subject - the message is in clear and forthright verses. Gary Metras is not embarrassed to relate the life of a Saint. “whatever house they enter, they are first to say, “Peace to this house.”

‘A poem’ expounds on, “and still they come.” yes. this small book speaks to me as a Christian but it is so much more if the reader is willing to go beyond the obvious. the first few pages question; questions I did not think lent to the reading or the poem. Metras’ writing shines by the third page. from then on, whether the reader knows the story or not, there is a push to recognize phrases as ones’ own. the poem begins again and again, without ending.

“the brothers and the people tore down the folksy
that cradled the simple chapel,
quarried whole hillsides for marble,
in the name of Francis,
mined clay banks from rivers to bake into bricks,
stacked them
taller and wider for the bronze and marble,
in the name of Francis.

St. Francis poem encompasses all the proverbs and metaphors for our present generation. metaphors we place our knowledge on.’ a poem’ is a telling, not a reinvention of what was; it is what is.

for me a good poem takes me to my deepest self. I may cry, get angry or sometimes feel nothing. all the above takes place in the 25 pages.

“and in the great age of global leisure,
tourists came, more and more each year,
and with them hotels, restaurants, laundries

came coca cola, levis jeans. came iPod.

and somewhere in this story of faith
the hills of hell was made heaven
in the name of Francis”

one of my complaints is that St. Francis ‘ life story says it all and he makes no judgments for us, (“silent teaching.”) we are allowed the luxury of making our own judgments. by the end of this, ‘a poem,’ I think Metras leaves the story for a modern day tale of woe that may not be conducive to the epic faith of St. Francis. I think the reader already knows the message and can connect the dots themselves. negatives aside, there is a communion of chapters, a natural love of story telling and a grace beyond words.

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor
Ibbetson Street Press

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