Green Hills Literary Lantern

St. Philip of Neri

 

(1515-1595)

 

 

Goethe named him the humorous saint.

I can’t find any like him; shaves half his beard,

jigs while sniffing broom flowers,

receives noblemen while wearing a red beanie

reading cartoons: “You see what capital

books I keep!” Embarrassed by ecstasy

yet when he prays the chapel trembles.

He tells his reticent confessors: “Don’t worry,

all sins of yours I will say to you.”

And then he does. He predicts careers

and births, heals Christians, Jews and

Pope Clement’s gout. A priest is cured of sick

despair when Philip whispers in his ear:

“Come now, let us run together.”

 

 

 

 

Clifford Paul Fetters has poems published or forthcoming in the New York Review of Books, Appalachia, Poet Lore, The Seattle Review, OnEarth, The Willow Review, 5AM, Texas Observer, Rattle, Talking River, Light, Open Spaces, Square Lake, The Rockford Review, Lyric, The Atlanta Review, Paintbrush, and many others. He lives in Seattle with his wife, the writer Debra Dean.