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Her parents tired of locking her up
before she tired of running away.
Love mocks the locksmith, and love
drove her on till the convent walls
closed around her strong as a castle,
and poverty made her as safe
as wealth makes a queen.

Francis the merchant’s son
should have died in the streets of Assisi
known as the local beggar, Crazy Old Frank.
Who knew that young men would flock to him,
poverty-mad, throwing away their future
to live this way? And Clare after him 
luring a princess from Hungary
to cast aside royalty and wealth for a winter
heated by no fire but love.

Could it happen again? Parents hope not.
Children should make (and be) good investments,
while faith and fanatics are out of fashion.
But all it takes is a whisper, a change in the wind,
a trick of the light,
for the sleeping coal to flare up
and sons and daughters come running,
scattering fellowships, law school,
the Army, the arts, their engagements,
brimming with glorious news for their families:
“I’m begging! Isn’t it wonderful?”

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