It was my heart and hands that brought me to the wineshop door;
But my head and feet our respectability would restore.
Are you content, they say, not to cut your name in durable stone?
Better, I reply, the immortality of scented dust wind-blown.
The greatest shame would be a monument our Beloved never noticed;
Dust, at least, can sing on the wind and boast: His feet I once clung to and kissed.
Become headless and footless, the Masters of the path say,
Give both to the Beloved’s service if you would enter the way.
Yet I thank you, feet, that suffered the stone-strewn plain,
And you, head, that always reckoned every loss as gain.
It is more comfortable to be airborne than to be locked in proud stone
That the sun’s hammers will break and rains’ rakes will level for grass to be sown.
Listen! my friends, how sweetly our nightingale tongue sings to the rose:
Our history will be published wherever the wind of God blows.
Head and feet here stand for mind and body. At times both have focussed on achievement. The unworldliness of heart and hands, love and artist, they could not always follow. Head and feet have been necessary helpers but must now be given to the Master. They are not to be despised in some dualistic way. They have provided strength and discrimination.
Now nothing can be clung to, even the strength and imperviousness of stone must be given up.
Even stone is subject to sun and water, finally the servant of serial time. Its mutability is beautifully conveyed in Francis’ imagery.
Love and its windblown song belong to another realm, known only to the freedom of real lovers. These are the ‘friends’ of the tavern.
To be ‘airborne’ is to follow the spirit as it freely blows upon us. What a contrast with the previous poem. The dust is scented because it still retains the memory of the Master’s presence