The book, a substantial collection of Francis’ poetry, was published in Sydney in 1956. 7 Stars To Morning is divided into a number of sections, beginning with the longish poem entitled
“7 Stars to Morning”
The seven stars are the Southern Cross and the two ‘pointers’.
A great antipodean prophetic utterance. Even non-Australians can be inspired by this!
The swan of inner inspiration guides him to the revelatory mountain top cave. One striking thing about this poem is its early date of composition which Ross Keating says was 1942. Already Francis was transmuting his romantic vision of nature into an apprehension of the universal heroic search for inner truth, inspired by The Holy Mountain by Bhagwan Shri Hamsa, a book which still resides in the Francis Brabazon Library at Avatar’s Abode, Woombye, Queensland, a primary site for research on the poet.
This section consists of a number of short lyrics written with a good deal of poetic force and celebrating oneness in duality. They are dedicated to Baron von Frankenberg who acted as Francis’ Sufi sheikh and preceptor and set him on the path that led to being a poet and finding Meher Baba.
An attempt to imitate the magic of Blake’s Songs of Innocence but they don’t.
Praise for pure and ideal figures which are quite beautiful.
Music In The Earth
Many dream images and explorations but the best poem is
Lament for the Death of a Young Air-woman
This poem captures the unreality and mystery of death with a constrained dignity. Told in a manner a bit reminiscent of Auden (“In Memory of W.B.Yeats”, “Musee des Beaux Arts”) , it is both natural and vivid. It is a homage to a young woman Francis was just getting to know.
Quatrains Of Refreshment
A sequence of quatrains doing a bit of an Omar Khayam type praise of spiritual abandonment. He captures the Persian ambience well.
Art As A Practice Of Devotion
A prose interlude.
Francis sets the bar high here for what it takes to be an artist. He describes all real art as sacred art revealing the creative activity of God through the effacement of the artist in his task. Profoundly moving to read of such ideals, beyond most people’s ken in our society.
Death By Drowning
Images of natural beauty linked to our spiritual heritage, the union taking place through the saving power of love. in this poem the beauty of the images softens the didactic tone.
Dawn Through To Sunrise
I think the excitement of this long poem is the dramatic struggle to infuse sensuous desire and longing with the full light of his surrender to his Master, of bringing the dawn of love into the full baking glare of divine radiance. A mixture of lyric and abstraction. It may be too dramatic for those who do not share Francis’ confidence in affirming
When one has once met Sadguru
There is no such thing again as separation:
written as, at Meher Baba’s order, the poet steams away from America, from his girl Sparkie Lewis, and from his Guru, towards taking on his duties in Australia. The biographical information helps make sense of the emotion in the poem. Love leads towards union.
By the way, to clear up a bit of a puzzle, the “Glory” of Milarepa was that this famed yogi- saint wanted neither fame nor glory! Francis found the same quality in a beggar in New Orleans. A great travel account of that city as Francis, aglow with the inspiration of meeting his Master, rejoices
Above Mississippi’s flood,
I struck sparks from the steel of my heart
With the flint of His Name,
And sent messages to my lovely Dawn.
The Stone Masons
Here one needs to make a little more comment.
The same theme of freedom in obedience is taken up as in the last poem. We become aware that we are reading an extraordinary recounting in rhapsodic verse of the poet’s big breakthrough, where through his purity of response to his Master’s grace he accepts the need for surrender and sacrifice for the sake of love. Love grows from delirious appreciation of the beloved’s beauty to its apotheosis in sacrifice. Sacrifice is necessary to complete the journey from stone, so that the complete form of real man can emerge. The poetry is full of intensity and of a great physical images, as Francis labours building a centre for Baba on a sandstone hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, far from his beloved. This is poetry that can convince us that the very heart of being human is a necessary transmutation, the overcoming of all idolatry of the flesh, the agonizing hewing out of oneself until the light within is revealed. In imagery carries over from the previous poem, the dawn gives herself to the sun’s embrace. All written at a level of intensity foreign to most Australians but designed to be a wake-up call to a nation. We are not used to being exhorted with passion but this poetry does its blessed best. It is no longer soapbox poetry in any way.
The beginning of the affair
Is to clearly understand that as regards another,
One can only act as a catalyst for light.
(How can one centre of unconsciousness ever unveil another?)
But by purifying one’s motive, by polishing
One’s heart so that it becomes a mirror,
One can reflect the essential purity
Of another back to him, and so
Encourage him in his unfolding.
Union consists in the image reflected in the mirror
Being known as one’s own self.
First the lover sees
His beloved as a brightness within his heart,
Then he discovers that that brightness
Is nothing but his own life, his spring of being.
By this stage of the poem the aliveness of the poetry and the purity of Francis’ endeavour has made such high claims work. It provides a mirror as we say it.
Every now and then there are bits popped into the poem about adepts of the past or ancient fables. It is as though the poet is trying to keep his bearings amidst the tempest of his Love discovery. And it gives us welcome pause in this highly dramatic narrative.
Now speaking from the full sunlight of the peaks of clear aim
The lover perceives that truly he has no existence
Except in the Beloved; that he
Is but a wall between himself and God.
A division in existence; a cover
And a shame disquieting truth.
and his feminine beloved is totally absorbed in this vision.
He is taking on a difficult task, conveying the reality of the Avatar’s visit and the sacred perspective, delivering oracular social criticism to wake up Australia, and dramatizing his own victorious struggle. This ambition to combine all these was not to be fully realized until he later achieved the epic Stay With God.