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Francis and the Wolf Details

 


 

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.  Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.  Through violence your may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.  In fact, violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness:  only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate:  only love can do that."

 

 

 

 -Martin Luther King

 

 

 

"Francis felt sympathy for the wolf. There was something of the wolf in all of nature, that ravenous hunger, that restless pursuit, that baring of fangs, so symbolic of what was wild and violent in all of us.... Everyone feared wolves and disliked them, and he saw in the eyes of wolves a fear, a hunted look, an anger and hostility that wanted to devour everything in sight in order to avenge their own hurt and alienation. Wolves, after all, where like people. If you feared them and ostracized them..., they eventually turned into what you were afraid they were anyway."

 

 

From Murray Bodo's book Francis: The Journey and the Dream

 

A beautiful descriptive poem of the story of Francis and the Wolf, written  by the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío,

considered by many to be one of the most important poets of the Americas. 

LOS MOTIVOS DEL LOBO

Rubén Darío (1913)


El varón que tiene corazón de lis,
alma de querube, lengua celestial,
el mínimo y dulce Francisco de Asís,
está con un rudo y torvo animal,
bestia temerosa, de sangre y de robo,
las fauces de furia, los ojos de mal:
el lobo de Gubbia, el terrible lobo,
rabioso, ha asolado los alrededores;
cruel ha deshecho todos los rebaños;
devoró corderos, devoró pastores,
y son incontables sus muertes y daños.

Fuertes cazadores armados de hierros
fueron destrozados. Los duros colmillos
dieron cuenta de los más bravos perros,
como de cabritos y de corderillos.

Francisco salió:
al lobo buscó
en su madriguera.
Cerca de la cueva encontró a la fiera
enorme, que al verle se lanzó feroz
contra él. Francisco, con su dulce voz,
alzando la mano,
al lobo furioso dijo: ?¡Paz, hermano
lobo! El animal
contempló al varón de tosco sayal;
dejó su aire arisco,
cerró las abiertas fauces agresivas,
y dijo: ?¡Está bien, hermano Francisco!
¡Cómo! ?exclamó el santo?. ¿Es ley que tú vivas
de horror y de muerte?
¿La sangre que vierte
tu hocico diabólico, el duelo y espanto
que esparces, el llanto
de los campesinos, el grito, el dolor
de tanta criatura de Nuestro Señor,
no han de contener tu encono infernal?
¿Vienes del infierno?
¿Te ha infundido acaso su rencor eterno
Luzbel o Belial?
Y el gran lobo, humilde: ?¡Es duro el invierno,
y es horrible el hambre! En el bosque helado
no hallé qué comer; y busqué el ganado,
y en veces comí ganado y pastor.
¿La sangre? Yo vi más de un cazador
sobre su caballo, llevando el azor
al puño; o correr tras el jabalí,
el oso o el ciervo; y a más de uno vi
mancharse de sangre, herir, torturar,
de las roncas trompas al sordo clamor,
a los animales de Nuestro Señor.
Y no era por hambre, que iban a cazar.
Francisco responde: ?En el hombre existe
mala levadura.
Cuando nace viene con pecado. Es triste.
Mas el alma simple de la bestia es pura.
Tú vas a tener
desde hoy qué comer.
Dejarás en paz
rebaños y gente en este país.
¡Que Dios melifique tu ser montaraz!
?Está bien, hermano Francisco de Asís.
?Ante el Señor, que todo ata y desata,
en fe de promesa tiéndeme la pata.
El lobo tendió la pata al hermano
de Asís, que a su vez le alargó la mano.
Fueron a la aldea. La gente veía
y lo que miraba casi no creía.
Tras el religioso iba el lobo fiero,
y, baja la testa, quieto le seguía
como un can de casa, o como un cordero.

Francisco llamó la gente a la plaza
y allí predicó.
Y dijo: ?He aquí una amable caza.
El hermano lobo se viene conmigo;
me juró no ser ya vuestro enemigo,
y no repetir su ataque sangriento.
Vosotros, en cambio, daréis su alimento
a la pobre bestia de Dios. ?¡Así sea!,
contestó la gente toda de la aldea.
Y luego, en señal
de contentamiento,
movió testa y cola el buen animal,
y entró con Francisco de Asís al convento.

Algún tiempo estuvo el lobo tranquilo
en el santo asilo.
Sus bastas orejas los salmos oían
y los claros ojos se le humedecían.
Aprendió mil gracias y hacía mil juegos
cuando a la cocina iba con los legos.
Y cuando Francisco su oración hacía,
el lobo las pobres sandalias lamía.
Salía a la calle,
iba por el monte, descendía al valle,
entraba en las casas y le daban algo
de comer. Mirábanle como a un manso galgo.
Un día, Francisco se ausentó. Y el lobo
dulce, el lobo manso y bueno, el lobo probo,
desapareció, tornó a la montaña,
y recomenzaron su aullido y su saña.
Otra vez sintióse el temor, la alarma,
entre los vecinos y entre los pastores;
colmaba el espanto los alrededores,
de nada servían el valor y el arma,
pues la bestia fiera
no dio treguas a su furor jamás,
como si tuviera
fuegos de Moloch y de Satanás.

Cuando volvió al pueblo el divino santo,
todos lo buscaron con quejas y llanto,
y con mil querellas dieron testimonio
de lo que sufrían y perdían tanto
por aquel infame lobo del demonio.

Francisco de Asís se puso severo.
Se fue a la montaña
a buscar al falso lobo carnicero.
Y junto a su cueva halló a la alimaña.
?En nombre del Padre del sacro universo,
conjúrote ?dijo?, ¡oh lobo perverso!,
a que me respondas: ¿Por qué has vuelto al mal?
Contesta. Te escucho.
Como en sorda lucha, habló el animal,
la boca espumosa y el ojo fatal:
?Hermano Francisco, no te acerques mucho...
Yo estaba tranquilo allá en el convento;
al pueblo salía,
y si algo me daban estaba contento
y manso comía.
Mas empecé a ver que en todas las casas
estaban la Envidia, la Saña, la Ira,
y en todos los rostros ardían las brasas
de odio, de lujuria, de infamia y mentira.
Hermanos a hermanos hacían la guerra,
perdían los débiles, ganaban los malos,
hembra y macho eran como perro y perra,
y un buen día todos me dieron de palos.
Me vieron humilde, lamía las manos
y los pies. Seguía tus sagradas leyes,
todas las criaturas eran mis hermanos:
los hermanos hombres, los hermanos bueyes,
hermanas estrellas y hermanos gusanos.
Y así, me apalearon y me echaron fuera.
Y su risa fue como un agua hirviente,
y entre mis entrañas revivió la fiera,
y me sentí lobo malo de repente;
mas siempre mejor que esa mala gente.
y recomencé a luchar aquí,
a me defender y a me alimentar.
Como el oso hace, como el jabalí,
que para vivir tienen que matar.
Déjame en el monte, déjame en el risco,
déjame existir en mi libertad,
vete a tu convento, hermano Francisco,
sigue tu camino y tu santidad.

El santo de Asís no le dijo nada.
Le miró con una profunda mirada,
y partió con lágrimas y con desconsuelos,
y habló al Dios eterno con su corazón.
El viento del bosque llevó su oración,

que era: Padre nuestro, que estás en los cielos...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MOTIVES OF THE WOLF

Rubén Darío (1913)

 
The genuine man that has a heart that's pure,
the soul of a poet, inspiring tongue,
very small and gentle brother Francisco,
he's with a real harsh and fierce animal,
fearful beast of pillage, of blood and of theft
with jaws of a demon, with sinister eyes;
the mean wolf of Gubbio, the terrible wolf,
enraged, devastated all of the surroundings,
cruelly it laid waste to all of the flocks;
it devoured the sheep, it devoured the shepherds,
and its death and damages are so innumerable.

Strong hunters armed with weapons of iron
were wiped out or mangled.
The hard fangs accounted for the toughest of dogs,
as if they were young goats or very small lambs

Francisco went out;
to look for the wolf
trying to find its den
close to its cave he found the huge wild beast
who upon seeing him ferociously threw itself against him.
Francisco, with his gentle voice,
and lifting up his left hand,
he said to the furious wolf:
"Peace, my brother wolf!"

The animal gazed upon the man wearing humble clothes;
it dropped its defenses,
it closed its aggressive open jaws,
and it said: "Very well, Oh brother Francisco!"

"How?" - exclaimed the saint.
"Is it inherent for you to live off of fear and death?
the blood that spills out of your hellish snout,
the grief and the fright that you spread all around,
the cries of the people, the screaming, the pain
of so many creatures of our common Lord,
aren't they enough to stop your infernal wrath?
Do you come from hell?
has Lucifer or Satan perchance infused in you,
their eternal grudge"

And the huge wolf said humbly;
"The winter is hard, and the hunger's horrible!
In the bleak cold forest there was naught to eat;
so I looked for the flocks, and sometimes I ate
the shepherd with the sheep.
talk about blood?
I saw more than one hunter riding upon his horse,
holding a goshawk on his fist; or chasing after the wild boar,
the bear or the deer;
I saw more than one of them stain himself with their blood,
injure or torture,
from the muted wailings to the unheard screams,
of so many creatures of our common lord,
it wasn't out of hunger, that they would got to hunt."

Francisco responded:
"There is bad blood in all human beings.
when we're born we come in sin. It's sad.
Whereas the simple soul of the beast is pure.
you will have enough to eat as of today
but you must leave in peace
the flocks and the people of this country.
And may God mellow your wildlife state of being!"
"Very well, Oh brother Francisco I will."
"Now before the Lord that binds and unbinds all things,
as a bond of good faith extend your paw to me."
The wolf extended its paw to the brother of the faith
who in turn stretched out his own right hand.

They went to the village.
All the People stared
and could not believe what their eyes perceived.
behind the religious man walked the savage wolf,
and with its head bowed down it peacefully followed
like a submissive house dog, or Mary's little lamb.

Francisco called the people who gathered in the plaza
and there he did preach. and he said:
"Here with me behold this friendly quarry,
The brother wolf is coming home with me;
It swore not to be any longer our enemy,
and will not repeat its bloody attacks.
you in return, will feed and take care
of the poor beast of our Lord."
"May it be so!"
replied all the people assembled in the plaza.
and afterward, as a sign of contentment,
the wolf wagged its tail and nodded its head,
and entered in the convent with Brother Francisco.

For some time the wolf remained peacefully
in the sacred sanctum.
Its large ears would hear the psalms
and its clear eyes would moisten with emotions.
it learned many tricks and played many games
when it went to the kitchen with the novice brothers.
and when Francisco would say his daily prayers,
the wolf would lick his poor and shabby sandals.
it would go out in the streets,
it would roam the countryside,
it would descend into the valley,
it would enter the houses,
and they would give it something to eat.
they looked upon it like a mellow greyhound.

One day Francisco went away.
And the gentle wolf
the tame and good wolf,
the righteous wolf,
soon it disappeared, returned to the mountains,
its howling and lawlessness started all anew,
the fright and alarm were felt once again,
all amongst the neighbors and amongst the shepherds;
the environment was overcome with terror,
courage and weapons were of little use
since the fierce wild beast
did not give rest to its fury, at all,
as if it had the fury inspired by Moloch or Satan himself.

When the divine Saint returned to the village,
Everybody told him their complaints and outcries,
and with a thousand grievances they gave testimony
of how much they'd suffered and how much they had lost
because of the infamous wolf of the devil.

Brother Francisco became quite severe.
he went to the mountain
to look for the false butcher wolf.
and next to its cave he found the miscreant.
“In the name of the father of the whole universe,
I beseech you," he said, "Oh damned perverse wolf!,
Oh tell me: Why have you gone back to what's evil?
Answer me. I'm listening."

As if with inner turmoil the animal spoke,
with its mouth a-foaming and death in its eyes:
"Oh Brother Francisco, don't you come too close now...
I was in peace, while I was in the convent;
I'd roam through the village,
when they'd give me something to eat I was happy
and gratefully ate it.
But soon I noticed that in all of the houses
There was greed, cruelty, there was hate, rage and envy
and embers were burning in all of their faces
of deceitful lust infamy and falsehood.
Brothers against brothers made war on each other,
the weak ones would lose, and the bad ones would win,
the men and the women were just like dogs in heat,
and one fine day they all beat me with sticks.
They saw me so humbled,
since I'd lick their hands and their feet.
I was following your sacred laws:
all of God's creatures were my brothers and sisters,
[ the following two lines are in flux ]
all men(were)my brothers,(my brothers)the oxen,
(my sisters)the stars and,(brothers)the worms.
In spite of my kindness they beat and cast me out.
and I felt their laughter just like boiling water,
The savage beast revived from (deep) within my bowels,
suddenly I felt myself an evil wolf again;
yet always much better than those wicked people.
and so once again I began my struggle,
to defend myself and to feed myself,
just as does the bear just as does the wild boar,
Who must hunt and kill in order to survive.
Leave me in the countryside, leave me in the wild,
Let me exist in my total freedom;
go back to your convent, Oh Brother Francisco,
Remain on your path with your saintlyness."

The Saint Francisco didn't reply anything.
he just gazed at the wolf with a profound look,
and he left with tears in his eyes and so full of sorrow
And spoke to the Eternal God in his heart.
The wind of the forest carried his prayer,
which was: "Our father, who art in heaven...."

 

 Translation from the band: Los Motivos Del Lobo

 

 


 

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