Written at the suggestion of Fr George Salzmann, OSFS, priest of St Paul's Parish, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and graduate chaplain to Harvard University. The first two lines are his.
St William of Rochester
As Homer sang of storied Ilium,
Poets have sought to praise St William.
(Assist me, Watts and Neale and Faber,
As I begin this holy labour!)
Our William was a Scot by birth,
A wild young man from bonny Perth.
He learned to love his Lord and Maker,
And plied the noble trade of baker.
Walking to Mass, before first light,
William beheld a startling sight:
A foundling child--God! Who would save it?
Our good saint did, and named him David.
William and David rose from bed
When still quite dark to bake their bread:
They always made a little more
To put aside to feed the poor.
Moved to the quick by heaven's graces,
St William sought the hallowed places.
He took his son, he took his staff,
And set out with a merry laugh.
Yes, Canterbury was their goal,
But devils entered David's soul.
At Rochester, young David smote
His father's head, and slashed his throat.
A woman mad as a thunderstorm
Spied William's body, still quite warm,
And crowned his brow with flowers plain:
She kissed his cheek; God made her sane.
Soon, pious friars did appear
And laid St William on a bier.
His grave became a blessèd place
Where troubled souls got peace and grace.
Let praises ring out, high and higher,
From Rochester's cathedral-choir:
Here is the ground where William lies;
Christ was his heart, his life, his prize.
Poetry by Thomas DeFreitas
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Written on 2018-08-30 at 06:47
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