Unless one takes up the matter of apprenticeship
To love, one will never kiss the winecup’s gleaming lip.
This learning is how to demolish first the facade,
Then the whole structure of mind where dog-faced self keeps guard.
There is the way of dust, and that of some Golden Rule;
But mostly with love we think we don’t need any school.
Of the first way we have not heard, the second is old hat—
Get out on the tiles son/daughter and learn from the cat.
Don’t go to Love Street to the dilapidated shop—
Range the town for your quarry, but look out for the cop.
Of this and like things one could weep gutters of blood
If it were not that God-Man is here, and soon the thud
Of his Word in the rocks will shatter the foundations
Of mansions and hovels and establish love’s generations.
As so often Francis comes up with the novel and surprising. ‘Apprenticeship’ suggests that love needs learning, discipline and above all a master. This is the genuine way to communion from the divine cup.
To learn is the practical task of pulling down the edifice of self-protection and desire we have constructed.
The dog-faced self keeping guard is our watchdog self-interest, and also perhaps the Egyptian god Anubis very commonly put in tombs to protect the self even in the journey after death.
People, especially the young tend to think they need little tutelage in love. They have not heard of the way of dust, of self emptying. The adage ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is a hoary old tale. The way of love advocated is the way of predatory and promiscuous sex.
As the poet knows the old wineshop is unfashionable and without gloss.
‘One could weep gutters of blood’ is not an exaggerated response to such a mockery of love and suggests the violent times to come.
Baba though has promised a cleansing and awakening world convulsion. The lack of pause between the last two stanzas brings out the rush of the violence.