When the screen of day was slid aside revealing night’s peacock-eyed tapestry
I took up my post of prayer—remembrance of my Beloved’s courtesy.
Not desiring anything, mind fasting, heart content,
The time from dark to dawn was an eternal moment.
At some point in this nothingness a tear welled up and fell in the dust
And split, and I was carried to the Master’s door by love’s thrust.
He was sitting in the doorway enjoying the rose-scented breeze
From the garden of his lovers’ hearts, and its harp-like melodies.
With his permission I brushed the dust from his feet with my eyelashes,
And there was a roar in my ears of surf that on a white beach crashes.
He smiled and stroked my head, and my head burst into flame,
And I began to understand that Mercy is God’s chief name.
When I came back I found I was still at my post of praise
With an empty wineglass in my hand which caught the sun’s first rays.
Francis himself is capable of a certain amount of lushness (see the previous poem). Enthusiastic reader don’t get carried away with it, it forms a contrasting companion to the next poem.
Although ‘love’s thrust’ suggest an almost physical force, this is not a poem of conquest but of surrender. The experience comes from a moment of desirelessness. The tear is the tear of emotions too deep for desire. All the emphasis is on the Beloved. The experience is a gift of wonder and of uncontrollable spontaneity.
Allusion and metaphor, garden, dust, and surf’s roar are used to convey a heart experience out of normal time. The wine glass catches the light of the sun and with its crystal transmutes them into the spectrum of the experiences of union, even after the moment of intoxication.