Logo, MacQueen's Quinterly
Listed at Duotrope
MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 288 words
By Simona Carini

St. Francis Renounces All Worldly Goods

Scenes from the saint’s life stream 
along the walls of the Upper Church’s nave, 
the frescoes’ colors still vivid, the stories real. 

As a child, sitting on a pew between my parents, 
my eyes lingered where St. Francis renounces 
publicly his family’s name, trade, inheritance, 

even takes off the clothes he’s wearing. 
I thought about the soft sweaters, shiny shoes, 
silken shirts I wanted, I had, and he gave up. 

Like the ties binding the main characters, the space 
is divided: on the left, dressed in a golden robe, 
the saint’s father springs forward, face creased 

in anger, the white embroidered garment and black 
trousers his son has dropped draped over his left arm, 
his right arm restrained at the wrist by a man. 

A band of space at the center and on the right: 
the young St. Francis, naked chest, 
lower body wrapped in ultramarine blue cloth 

held from behind by a bishop. Hands raised 
level with his father’s angry stare, the saint prays, 
haloed head skyward to a hand emerging from the clouds, 

blessing. Yet like a blade cleaving St. Francis 
from his past. A public divorce from his early life 
of luxury, his choice of Lady Poverty. 

In silence, the saint stands on one side of a chasm 
his father cannot cross. The scene’s tension dense 
in the church’s air, a tension I knew from home.  

One day soon my choice of path—nurse, 
at a cancer center, in a city far away—would clash 
with my parents’ wishes and St. Francis would be my beacon. 

I severed myself from their hold, claimed my right 
to choose the colors to paint my life, followed 
that hand pointing elsewhere, blessing. 



St. Francis Renounces Worldly Goods: 1297-99 Fresco by Giotto di Bondone
Renunciation of Worldly Goods (fresco, ca. 1297-99)*
by Italian painter and architect Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337)


*Number 5 of 28 paintings in the Legend of St. Francis cycle of frescoes in the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy. Image above was downloaded from Wikimedia Commons on 9 April 2024.

Simona Carini
Issue 23 (April 2024)

was born in Perugia, Italy. She writes poetry and nonfiction and has been published in various venues, in print and online. Her first poetry collection, Survival Time, was published by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions (2022). She lives in Northern California with her husband, loves to spend time outdoors, and works as an academic researcher.

Author’s website: https://simonacarini.com/

Copyright © 2019-2024 by MacQueen’s Quinterly and by those whose works appear here.
Logo and website designed and built by Clare MacQueen; copyrighted © 2019-2024.
⚡   Please report broken links to: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡

At MacQ, we take your privacy seriously. We do not collect, sell, rent, or exchange your name and email address, or any other information about you, to third parties for marketing purposes. When you contact us, we will use your name and email address only in order to respond to your questions, comments, etc.