I would wander at night along a wide, white empty beach
Glistening under a rising spent moon, beyond voices’ reach.
But how without head can I find that desired quiet place,
And without feet walk into your infinite embrace?
How gladly I first set out on this journey to dust!
But stone is so hard and strong—where to get stronger trust?
Storms have not worn down this manshaped stone by a skin’s thickness;
Love is so huge and slow despite its first lightning quickness.
Stone alone was endured—but this stone strung as a violin?
No one at the time knows that such could be the wages of sin.
It was bad enough the disaster of love’s first lightning flash—
But what about that glance of release when all the worlds will crash?
The Beloved smiles: Some difficulty in patience you are finding?
Don’t give up now; soon I will begin the crushing and grinding.
A complaint to God with a most ironic, if loving reply.
Even the beauty of physical solitude cannot give him either true quiet or progress on the journey.
The journey to dust seemed feasible at the beginning but how hard stone proves to be. It did seem that love’s victory would be swift and decisive but stone has resisted it. And what stone it is! No insentience here but strung like a taut string. Is this the only way to shed our past sanskaras? Total annihilation still seems an unendurable fate.
The irony of the reply is of course Francis own mocking his own dramatics. But for us and I think for him the great tension remains.