. City of Holy Faith The time to weep is over. Turn away From somber matters of this sordid age And turn your pilgrim gaze to Santa Fe--- Garbed in aspen gold and desert sage. The sky’s an ever-burnished turquoise blue, And amber sunlight sanctifies the hills. At night she glimmers with the copper hue Of votive candles perched in window sills. City of St. Francis, built from stone; Adobe, too, in shades that match the earth. Pilgrims come to worship, to atone, To glory in the Savior’s humble birth. Each hallowed shrine recalls a miracle. Each church shines joy beyond its mud-baked wall. The blend of ancient faith and art is lyrical. The mariachis sing. The angels call. Our church’s ancient altar came from Spain And holy relics rest within its wall. A love of heaven fills this land like rain. A cross upon a hill looms over all. The sting of death is somehow weaker here Banished by the saints carved out of tin. St. Francis and the Virgin vanquish fear And show that grace can triumph over sin. Here wickedness is forced to hide its face. No sprite malign, no dark unholy wraith Has quarter in this timeless, hallowed place Whose sacred name itself means holy faith. . Poet’s note: Santa Fe, New Mexico – founded in 1610 -- literally means “holy faith” in Spanish. To honor its patron saint, St. Francis, it was named “La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis” i.e.“The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi.” . . The Young Rabbi's Sermon Our hungry children are in bed, my Ruth. Though poor, we greet another Sabbath blessed--- This seventh day which marks Our Father’s rest. And though I bend to honor the Lord’s Truth--- I rise with renewed faith to be professed! In fact my fevered mind will not keep still, Such joy I feel! Dear wife, say not a word! Just let me tell you of the things I heard Avowed by that young rabbi on our hill--- Glad thoughts which leave my weary spirit stirred! His name I’ve lost but he was Nazarene. Upon Mt. Eremos he drew a crowd--- An eager group of both the poor and proud. He saw my need---his eyes were so serene! He took my hand to hear him preach out loud. “Blessed are the poor,” this rabbi said. How this confused me, Ruth! I scarce can feel God’s favor. I can labor, I can kneel Yet still cannot afford our daily bread! But in our need, he said, God’s love is real! He offered other words that touched my soul: The meek shall own the Earth! That mercy lent Shall always be returned from whence it’s sent! He reached into my pain to make me whole As if he knew the grief that we lament. This rabbi said that those who mourn are blest--- That we, whose daughter died so young and ill, Can lift our grief to God; that He can fill Our emptiness and give our sad hearts rest! I wept, my wife, to finally trust God’s will! Last, he said, the man with a pure heart Shall surely live to see the Lord, our God! You know how I have worked and prayed and trod--- But till this rabbi spoke I felt apart From Him who made me out of dust and sod. But now I know this rabbi’s words are so, Such peace I feel! I’ve always kept the law Yet struggled with each failing, every flaw. But now...? O, praise Him whence all mercies flow! God loves us, Ruth! Let’s worship Him with awe! . . Brian Yapko is a lawyer who also writes poetry. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.