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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, July 16, 2004
    His movement would be his poem
    Little lizards dart across the walls of Assisi, zigzagging quick patterns of their movements on tawny stone. Their green bodies against the pink and red made the whole wall interesting and alive.
    Francis saw himself in these little creatures that shoot back and forth, in and out of the tiny crevices. They loved the geography of their little world and they went about the business of their lives unselfconsciously, totally preoccupied with the humble stone.
    It was their movement that fascinated him. Their motion was a pattern scribbled in the air which disappeared as soon as it was made. There was no permanence in these tiny signatures, no monument to themselves left behind. This is what he wanted to be: a tiny signature in the air that thrilled someone who saw it, but was as anonymous as a lizard's zigzagged darting on a pink Assisi wall. His movement would be his poem.

    This, from Murray Bodo's Francis: The Journey and the Dream, began my day. It seems to be a remove from J. Alfred Prufrock's wistful lament, "I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas". It's not just about longing to be anonymous, it's about moving more consciously, with conspicuous creativity, through life.

    "His movement would be his poem." Perfect line. Dwelling on this:

    (a) led me to spend a long time watching a white-and-black spider making stop-start scurries along the outside of the garden window ledge;

    (b) permitted me to watch with fascination, people's various movements in the street: the motionless stance of a woman waiting at the bus stop, two young girls on one bike circling around the same bus stop, young men running, three older girls dressed for the evening each playing with their hair as they walked and talked their way towards the night.

    (c) helped me to enjoy even more than I would have anyway, a display of Indian dancing at an interfaith event this evening; dance in that culture meaning far more than mere performance.

    (d) encouraged me to take another lesson from Francis into my life, walk, journey...