The Feather (For Hildegard of Bingen)

Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around Him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honor. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God.
(Hildegard of Bingen)

She blew where He willed;
His breath was her command.
He breathed into her heart, and out
Into the world she blew,

A feather, light but travelling
Where firmer objects could not go:
Into the palaces and minds of kings
Of bishops and of popes.

And when they watched her,
They were struck by what they saw,
That light-as-air, soft thing,
Tickling their consciences,

She was not insubstantial; her
Substance was the stuff of God;
He held her high, she drifted where
He bid that she should go.

Her feather was not white;
She did not fly in fear.
She was the feather of the King
And He has made her grand.

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