You are the haunting owl cries
rolling over a quiet olive grove
when I cannot sleep
You are the soft rain that begins
to fall on a hot, still night
You are the magic of fireflies in
the dark grass, unexpectedly lightening
my heart in its own darkness
You are the clear bells of matins
and muffled singing of devoted brothers
drifting from the coolness of their ancient church
You are the sweet black cat who joins me
for my morning cup of tea, its affectionate
presence and my solitude our own devotion
You are swallows swooping
free and fearless in a cloudless sky
above terracotta roofs and medieval towers
You are rolling verdant hills around the timeless city,
their swell your nourishing breasts
You are the final hill I need to climb to reach home,
my flagging feet treading uneven stones, my progress
always watched by stony saints and sinners
Laudato si’, Perugia.
You are timeless and you are today.
You are sacred and profane,
refuge and challenge.
You are beautiful stranger
and beloved friend.
Laudato si’. Laudato si’.
The Umbrian phrase Laudato si’ means “Praise be to you” and is the title of Pope Francis’ 2015 social encyclical, and originally from Saint Francis of Assisi’s 13th-century “Canticle of the Sun.”