There are men and women. And there is the third sex who wear robes of saffron or black
Eunuchs, not for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, but for belly and treasure-stack.

They toil not neither do they spin nor set hand to truck-wheel,
But they are not as the lilies of the field that had Jesus’ seal.

They sow no food-crops; neither plant trees nor build dams nor dig wells
Nor draw water for field or garden in the long dry spells.

They build no houses or wayside shelters against storm
Nor with their hands raise up stone to delight and inform.

Never do they take pruning hook and with song loud and free
Cut away the brambles that choke the knowledge-tree.

They tell not the Name of the living God-Man to the young,
The pure and eager; rather they poison them with their tongue.

They are neither women in surrender nor men in daring—
They are the third sex who saffron or black robes are wearing.


A protest song. The target is clear enough, but there is a rather dubious liking it up with gender questions, a sneering at those who are not real men.

Francis hated the parasitical manipulators who leeched onto the young to miseducate them. He saw many of the professionally religious as sowers of weeds and thorns. Unlike the lilies of the field they are ugly and clothed in their own makings ( compare: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: Mt 6: 28).

He could fulminate like an Old Testament prophet quite well.

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