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I pastori (The Shepherds)

I might have posted this lovely poem by Gabrielle D’Annunzio in September as I began school, but it speaks to me. Perhaps, I am better off to read it at other times than the beginning.

I recalled the poem, when I heard of the election of the Pope, Francis I. I thought it was a fitting name for the person who would be a shepherd. I hope he fulfills his Jesuit tradition of social justice and teaching.

When I heard the name he chose, it reminded of St. Francis of Assisi. Kathy and I used the Prayer of St. Francis as part of our wedding ceremony and hangs on our bedroom wall.

September, let’s go. It’s time to migrate.

Now in the land of Abruzzi my shepherds

leave the folds and go towards the sea:

they go down to the wild Adriatic

that is green like mountain pastures.

They’ve drunk deeply from the Alpine fonts,

so that the taste of their native water

may stay in their exiled hearts for comfort

to deceive their thirst along the way.

They’ve renewed their hazelnut sticks.

And they go along the ancient bridleway,

that is almost like a silent grassy river

in the traces of the ancient ancestors.

Oh voice of the one who first

discerns the shimmering of the sea!

Now along this coast moves the flock.

Without movement is the air.

The sun bleaches the living wool so that

it almost blends into the sand.

Swishing, stamping, sweet sounds.

Ah why am I not with my shepherds?


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

12 responses »

  1. Oh my this is so beautiful. I love St. Francis. I’m not a practicing Catholic, but this new pope gives me hope.This poem speaks to Francis the Pope.

    • I think it does Angeline. I think St. Francis is one of those Catholic saints who transcends belief systems. He is like Buddha. One does not have to be Buddhist to see the wisdom in the teachings.

  2. St. Francis of Assissi is my favorite saint. So connected to God, the earth and all it’s inhabitants. I see the humility of the new Pope from the 2005 election, when he pleaded with the conclave not to vote again for him because to him peace was more important. The sign of a real and genuine shepherd…I so pray. Beautiful poem on your wall. Sheri

    • I am with you on St. Francis. The priest who officiated our wedding initially said no to using the Prayer of St. Francis as a reading, but saw how important it was to us and allowed it. It may have set the mood for almost 40 years.

  3. The name a new Pope takes traditionally expresses their motivation of where they would be heading. Pope Francis has chosen the name of the Patron Saint of ecology and animals. This new Pope liked to go by bus as a cardinal, he also asked his followers to donate to the poor rather than buy plane tickets to go with him to Rome. This could be a sustainability Pope.

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  5. jalal michael sabbagh.

    Gabrielle’s poem,very fitting for the occasion .Having new Pope.Hoping heartily he will find the answers for the many questions.Thank you for the visit.Greetings.jalal

  6. The Prayer of St. Francis is timeless. Glad to hear that it’s part of your life. Blessings.


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