Beckett: Poetry – No. 1727, The Cross Paramount

This poem is an ekphrasis on the painting “Saint Francis in Prayer” by Bernardo Strozzi (1581-1644).

Saint Francis in Prayer by Bernardo Strozzi (1581-1644).
Upon his face is the expression
of total, complete surrender, —
hopelessness his discolouration,
mercy pleading from his eyes.

Human mortality personified
lies within his gaze.
From dust we are,
and to dust we shall return.

Yet directly in his presence
stands the cross paramount,
toward which he couples his hands
and trusts in Christ's work.

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