Some of Jacopone’s poems work as a dialogue. This one is between a person who takes decisions carefully and develops relationships in a caring and responsible way, and his friend who is self-indulgent, living only for superficial pleasures and a worldly consumer way of life.
“O my brother, before death overtakes you
Come to terms, find your way back to God.”
“If I change my ways, brother,
What will become of these sons of mine?
Come, why not think on death, which awaits
Both father and son? Follow the path
That leads out of the labyrinth.”
“But I’ve become accustomed to being well dressed,
To a certain decorum. How can I suddenly change,
Become an object of people’s contempt,
Have them point to me as that poor idiot?
A baited hook looks good to a fish,
But once he has swallowed it
It gives him little pleasure.
Your arguments frighten me, brother;
You make me feel the wound of holy love.
The world will no longer deceive me.”
The bait is worldly pleasures and High Street glamour. The hook is a bite of conscience about living an aimless and unmerciful existence.
We realise, however, that we share our mysterious and beautiful lives with a great expanse of fellow mortals. They, too, have buried desires for integrity and kindness poured into their hearts by God. We can only learn how to be meaningful in our relationships, and to make love our purpose, by seeing the beauty of others more clearly.