By Vittoria Colonna
Translated by Ted Witham    Jesus presses wax to the living flesh  
Blazes wounds, seals in love, Lover’s heat. 
Marks on Francis a true image, so fresh   
with love, Francis celebrates: replete.  
When he gripped you and gave to you his fire,  
and virtue itself, all of you was made whole.  
Now among us as his bride inspire 
Time and place to prepare the soul.  Poverty, humble life and every friend  
Raise grace to the most sublime state,  
From this life to the next all praise extend:    You loved him on earth, now in heaven ask,  
Blessed Spirit, that you may regenerate  
Your thoughts, desires, your holy task.    

Francesco, in cui sì come in umil cera 
Con sigillo d’amor sì vive impresse 
Le sue piaghe Iesù, che sol t’elesse  
A mostrarne di sé l’imagin vera,  
Quanto ti strinse ed a te quanto intera 
Die’ la sua forma e le virtuti istesse,  
Onde fra noi per la sua sposa cresse  
Il tempio e ‘l seggio e l’alma insegna altera.  Povertade, umil vita e l’altre tante 
Grazie l’alzaro al più sublime stato,  
Quanto or per suoi contrari è bassa e vile;  L’amasti in terra, or prega in ciel, beato  
Spirto, ch’ella ritorni omai pura gentile  
Ai pensieri, ai desiri, a l’opre sante.   
About the Author:

Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547) was an Italian noblewoman, the best-known female intellectual of her time. Her poems are stylistically and linguistically ambitious; her favourite form was the Petrarchan sonnet. The sensuous imagery of her early poems carries over to her later ‘spiritual’ sonnets.
Her poems are in the public domain.  About the Translator:

Ted Witham is an Anglican Tertiary of St Francis. He writes poems and short stories and has published in the Eureka Street Journal and Studio in Australia, and in Lacuna: Journal of Historical Fiction in the US. He lives in the beautiful south-west corner of Australia with his wife Rae and Jack Russell terrier Lottie.