To St. John Paul II / by Joseph Castorino


You have a playful, loving smile

  that was delightfully disarming,

You have pleasant, penetrating eyes

  that looked deep into our souls,

As a humble seminarian you silently

  evaded the nefarious Nazis,

Years later, your heroic words crushed

  the cold-hearted Communists;

Your valiant, victorious voice was

  carried on the wondrous wings

Of the cheerful cherubim who raced

  round the globe and rained down

On the world your heavenly hope

  and wonderful words of wisdom.


You are a saint for our century:

  poignant poet, daring dramatist,

Protector of the powerless,

  merciful mystic, pro-life pope,

And stalwart spearhead who ignited

  the fire of the New Evangelization;

Your hideous opponent the devil,

  like a sly, sneaky soccer player,

Tantalizingly tried to kick abortion

  through Holy Church’s doors, but

As the goalie of the Chair of St. Peter,

  you flicked away temptation,

With your rock-solid shepherd’s staff

  gripped in your warrior-like hands.


In Poland, you relentlessly pursued

  Christ’s love even though

You had to trudge terribly through

  the dreadful, dreary dark night

Of Nazi dictatorship, and you had

  to bear the wicked weight of the

Cruel, crafty Communists in your

  beloved, historic city of Krakow;

Through your remarkable writings

  you lifted us ever so high in the air

In a Heaven-bound spiral, far far above

  the murky mist of moral relativism

And into the sublime, sunny splendor

  Of Christ’s truth and freedom.

the way of the cross

Pummeled by Parkinson’s,

he battles through the basilica,

leaning forward, heavily,

hunched over, crushed

under an invisible

wooden cross, laden

with the world’s woes;

from the ocean of onlookers,

like Veronica with her veil,

a mother mildly lifts up

her little newborn;

the Holy Father’s

old, wrinkled face

winces with pain,

like a warrior’s,

as he most tenderly

blesses the babe

with a gentle kiss;

the spectators exhale

a halo as they breathlessly

and solemnly sigh, “O!”