One can muddle along with a sort of catch-as-catch-can,
But to win to dust one must be a very warrior man.
Thousands have perished on this path thinking they could travel faster
Alone, than under the discipline of a Perfect Master.
For myself, I have become the slave of him who bound me
To his shining feet which illumine the darkness around me.
He who puts bright songs into my mouth and slakes my thirst with wine,
I cannot regard his lightest word as less than divine.
I went about the city searching for my Beloved,
And the watchmen and thieves set on me and left me as dead.
My Beloved found me and raised me up and took me home
And inquired lovingly about my country and the way I had come.
After I had served him awhile he promoted me to dust dwelling
And set me the task of molding song into pure Name-telling.
As in the previous poem we celebrate and praise the Master. But this time not as the vintner but as the rescuer and good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37)
The journey can be a casual muddle or it can be a misguided assertion of self. The poet though has bound himself to his godlike master (‘shining feet’ is an epithet from Homer).This master rescues many battered and bruised, loving them as individual journeyers.
Francis makes it his personal story, promotion to dust dwelling and then the service of singing. The singing comes only after or with the grinding down. The singing can then be a telling of the Name.
Notice how ‘Alone’ in line 4 is isolated after the line break and before the comma.