Saint Francis

Saint Francis

This is the first in a series of blog entries about the songs on the upcoming album “Hello Cruel World”, to be released worldwide in early 2012.

New Orleans, 2010

Saint Francis begging at your doorway

You want to let him in but what will the neighbors say

And you know you can’t go on but you can’t give up

And he answers you with his begging cup


Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology, among other things. He grew up wealthy, but chose to live in poverty. He begged on the streets. He is often pictured with animals, whom he called his brothers and sisters. Legend has it that he once brokered a peace between a wolf who was terrorizing a village, and its people. The wolf, he said, had “done evil out of hunger”. He made the townspeople promise to feed the wolf, and made the wolf promise not to harm them. Years later, the wolf died of old age, and the townspeople wept.

There’s a line of thinking floating about these days, that this world doesn’t matter, only the next. There’s no need to protect or respect the earth – use what we find, leave what we use, and move on to the next realm. Bring on the end times. What would Francis the environmentalist – he who called nature “the mirror of God” – make of this? What would he think about the obscene gusher of oil that sullied the Gulf of Mexico last year; the free floating soup of plastic in the Pacific gyre; the ice-free North Pole? How did we get to the point where we are made to choose, ideologically, between nature and spirit? Who is the wolf?


He’s been sleeping for 800 years

In a potter’s field full of sparrow’s tears

And while we sleep and dream of heaven’s gates

down here on earth the old man waits


“Saint Francis” by Gretchen Peters & Tom Russell
© Circus Girl Music & Frontera Music (administered by Bug Music) (ASCAP)
from the upcoming album Hello Cruel World

photo by Gretchen Peters (all rights reserved)

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