My grief is so deep and my trouble is so wide that one tear
Has become the five oceans across which the ships of the world steer.
From the beginning of time I myself have been my own goal,
Yet I have done nothing but serve time and get released on parole.
The whole creation has become for me an out-of-time joke
Which must be suffered in time until time’s final stroke.
Love is beyond scythes and sickles and the winnowing wind;
But love is not for the careless heart unschooled and undisciplined.
Love may not be stormed, nor demanded, nor taken in haste—
It is a gift from God to those who are drunken and chaste;
A gift for those who grieve, yet are at pains to entertain
Their Beloved with songs and jokes in season, and do not complain.
If you ever think that what the beloved Master says is wrong,
It means that in the fellowship of beggars you do not yet belong.
It is a spiritual commonplace that the individual soul contains the universe. But here this is no escape into an eternal vision but a stranding in a world of endless extension in time and in space.
A bitter torment it is for us to realise that such a predicament is of our own making. We are recidivists, we get some release on parole but always re=offend and end up behind bars once more. Instead of being in harmony with our real destiny the world become a jarring joke.
Scythes and sickles suggest the inevitable reapings of time where we are stuck unable to realise love.
Love cannot be forced and makes seemingly impossible demands, to be both drunken and chaste – both ecstatic and disciplined. ‘Those who grieve, yet are at pains to entertain’ is like the demands of Babas New Life, “Even if your heart is cut to bits, let there be a smile on your lips”.
A poem that might have seemed like a complaint ends up in affirming the need for unconditional trust in the master.