Popes of yore governed the papal states
Later pontiffs ruled the world’s Catholics
John Paul II reigned as humanity’s Pope.
God’s athlete of broad, strong shoulders
‘Made of sterner stuff’ than assassin’s bullets
Yet tenderly cradling infants in manly hands.
Cast in iron mould of work and grinding pain
From childhood through challenging youth
Pulse reader of toiling, struggling masses.
Inspirer of oppressed fellow Poles’ liberation
Challenger of Soviet Union’s iron grip
Overpowering would-be assassin with kindness.
Not confined by Vatican’s tradition walls
Pastor of the whole, wide, vast world
Bold evangeliser and darling of the media.
The heartthrob of world’s confused youth
Not abashed to ski or swim like them
Their hallowed ‘pied piper’ to hope and light.
Will mother earth yield another like him,
Champion of quintessential human dignity
God’s glory encircling a man fully alive?