Home > Words of Power > St Joseph of Cupertino. 9/18

St Joseph of Cupertino. 9/18

September 19, 2009

by Wendy Vardaman

Maybe it’s the lighthead — wanting
in mental capacity so that when Joseph studies
for a test, he focuses on one item only. Prays
for his examiners to ask that question. Flying,
however, comes easily, happens trancing
on God, involuntary; one minute he’s
with his fellow Franciscans, the next he’s taken off. It happens
first on the order’s feast day, then with increasing

frequency. He can’t stop, poor empty-
handed priest, no matter the ascending rank of those who order
him not to make a spectacle of himself.
Exiled by the pope to Assisi then to one commune and the next, he goes dry,
ordered not to speak to anyone other
than his bishop, until the last mass, Assumption Day, overcome by happiness, he lifts off.

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Wendy Vardaman (website) has a Ph.D. in English from University of Pennsylvania. Co-editor of the Wisconsin poetry journal Verse Wisconsin (formerly Free Verse), her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared widely, and her first collection of poetry, Obstructed View (Fireweed Press), has just been published. She works for a youth theater, The Young Shakespeare Players.

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  1. September 21, 2009 at 10:53 am

    What fun to run suddenly into this story again – one of the ministers at my church told it earlier this year as a “Story for All Ages” and referred to it in his sermon (http://www.firstuunashville.org/sermonblog/?p=98). The earthbound concerns of trying to pass a test and being scolded by higher-ups, in juxtaposition with the swooping build towards giddiness in the second stanza — I like that, and I also like how the first stanza ends on the word “increasing” — that extra weight on the word just before the second stanza takes off with “frequency,” echoing how one presses down on the ground before a leap.

  2. Barbara LaMorticella
    October 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Lovely, Wendy. The difference between logic and inspiration. I am so happy he lifted off at the end!

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