S.BenedictPalermoByGianniCipriano

Photograph to Poem

Over the last few months, I have seen various photographs and thought about writing poems drawn from them. For the first month or so of my summer break, I’m going to do Photograph to Poem, a project of writing several poems from photographs. The photographs will come from all kinds of sources and I will always credit the photographer. You are welcome to join the project by writing your own poems from the photographs. Or, simply by reflecting on the photograph in any way you choose. I am posting the photographs on my Facebook author page. you can reach that page at Joseph Ross Facebook Author Page.

Photograph to Poem #1 is from the New York Times, taken by Gianni Cipriano. The photograph shows Bangladeshi and African kids playing football on a field in Palermo, Sicily. A larger than life image of St. Benedict the Moor watches over them.

Back at Notre Dame, I wrote a research paper on St. Benedict the Moor. It was the kind of research work that grabbed me from the inside. I immersed myself learning about this fascinating former slave, hermit, Franciscan friar. The paper argued that “doing good in the world” mattered more than “believing correctly.” In the fancy theological language of the day, it was called “orthopraxis” was more important than “orthodoxy.” I still find myself fascinated by this man’s life and when I saw this photograph I knew I wanted to write about it.

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