To keep the rain off, the Pope is wearing a floor length poncho made of see-thru yellow plastic.
To keep off the torrential, tropical rain as he stands at the open end of his customised PopeMobile.
(This one in the style of an American army jeep, post-WWII: Il Papa transported by Uncle Sam.)
A gust of wind must have blown up from ground level, because the poncho has blown out to Michelin man proportions.
Swaddled in yellow, suitably inflated, Pope Francis might be on the point of ascending to heaven – except that Ascension seems unthinkable for this Sancho Panza; this mundane figure of nothing but a man, far too tubby to take flight.
Easy to tease even without mentioning jug ears or asking where he found Helmut Kohl’s old glasses.
(Those aviator frames didn’t stop the German people calling their chancellor ‘cabbage head’; Francis seems more of a swede.)
Feet of clay, easy to say; harder to explain why millions turned out in a tropical storm, up to nine hours before the three-hour Papal Mass was due to begin in Manila.
Six million, seven million Filipinos – the number is not even a number in the modern sense; more like those Biblical sums which mean: too many to count.
All wearing a scaled down version of the Pope’s yellow poncho.
Whatever their number, there are twice as many arms poking out and pointing upwards; with half the hands holding rosaries, the other half handling iPhones.
The rain, the light, and their beaming faces bouncing off millions of pieces of clear yellow plastic, each of these infused with the light and the rain bouncing off millions ofbeaming faces; a virtuous circle, making the whole scene translucent rather than simply see-thru.
For a moment, seeing through it all seems too cynical. As the pious are thrilled by thepresence of their pope, so piety appears to be thrilling.