These songs I sing I assure you are not of my choice,
They are because my silent God delights in my voice.
He is the lovely Rose which teases its nightingale
Into endlessly repeating love’s endless tale.
There is nothing concerning love that anciently was not dealt with,
Yet each succeeding age must needs produce its own verse-smith.
The great poets of old were all dust dwellers begging wine;
Though I beg, I am not of them—I but record and define.
If my clear definitions cause my critic to stammer,
Let him cool himself in the lake or beat his head with a hammer.
My Beloved is lord of song, and once he wept a tear
At the turn of one of my lines woman-lipped and eye-clear.
In the end all words turn out to be acts of violence
Which are weighed, and forgiven, in beloved God’s silence.
This poet had the unique experience of directly pleasing the Avatar with his verse. Other poets should not be too jealous though since the imperishable rose of beauty is still there to receive the songs of lovers. The aim of pleasing God should always be the motive behind art.
The infinite varieties of art are all variations on the same heart response to the real.
Francis does often have a no nonsense approach but he does much more than to ‘record and define’. He can bring a tear to his master’s eye with the tenderness (woman-lipped) and clear-sightedness of his lines.
Words please God but they are also violations of union, coming from the bondage of separation. They are finally accepted by His mercy.