Among mutes. Learning
Was heresy. A great Abbot
Flung his books in the Nile.
Philosophy destroyed him.
Yet when the smoke of fallen cities
Drifted over the Roman sea
From Gaul to Sicily, Rufinus
Awake in his Italian room
Lit this mad lighthouse, beatus
Ignis amoris, for the whole West.
Of gems or metals:-- “Adamant.” Jerome
Said his guts were brass;
But having started with this pretty
Word he changed, another time,
And the Greeks destroyed their jewel
For “Frightful blasphemy”
Since he had said hell-fire
Would at last go out,
And all the damned repent.
Otherwise a gentle thinker.
“All the crowd of the wicked,
Even the devil with his regiments
Go free in this detestable opinion.”)
By various pontiffs
To try the truth of his own doctrine.
Yet saints had visions of him
Saying he “did not suffer so much”:
He had “erred out of love.”
Mechtilde of Magdeburg knew him altogether pardoned
(Though this was still secret
The Curia not having been informed).
Though brusque, was admitted practical
Fornicationem efficacissime fugiens.
Would not renounce him. All antagonists,
Bernards and Abelards together, met in this
One madness for the sweet poison
Of compassion in this man
Who thought he heard all beings
From stars to stones, angels to elements, alive
Crying for the Redeemer with a live grief.