For Giordano Bruno

(For not renouncing eight statements, Bruno was burned at the stake on this day, February 17, in the year 1600 at the Campo de’ Fiori, Rome)

I refuse to renounce my writings.
     Words revolve around worlds.
I refuse to renounce my beliefs.
     Each leans along the other.
I refuse to renounce the work of my mind.
     My teachers lived and died to shape what I know.

I affirm: the beautiful earth rounds the fiery sun.
     The light moved across my face this morning as I lay in my cell.
I affirm: the world has a soul and all matter derives therefrom.
     My mother and I screamed together when my soul-full body arrived.
I affirm: all reality is accompanied by a spirit and an intelligence.
     The breezes crossing the seven hills of Rome bring voices from Tuscany.
I affirm: the bread and the wine are bread and wine.
     Sister Paolina’s slipper-shaped ciabatta tastes of heaven.
I affirm: the earth moves.
     How many times have I injured the bare ground when falling?
I affirm: the infinity of the stars and the infinite number of planets.
     Counting the lights in the endless night sky never ends.
I affirm: the spirit and the body are one. 
     Cut by a knife, I bleed.  Cut by a word, I bleed.
I affirm: the stars are messengers and interpreters of the ways of God.
     Just look up.

“Perchance you - who pronounce my sentence - 
are in greater fear than I who receive it.”

May the fire of my burning body 
in the Field of Flowers flare 
brighter than the sun on that day.

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