This piece of ground that I have cultivated with much sweat
Yields me a harvest of straw with no ears of golden wheat.
Which, of course, is my blessing—for with labor’s returns
The eye becomes fat with hope, and with tears no longer burns.
Also, when one’s belly is empty wine has more effect;
And without drunkenness one courts the disaster of respect!
Many a young lover has been ruined by success—
His heart does not get curbed by the barred-bit of distress.
This heart-crusher, our Beloved, only loves thin-necks—
With special favor shown to survivors from shipwrecks.
If you would not increase the lovers of God death-rate,
Then take up Science or Art or work for some Welfare State;
But when on some summer night scented and magical
Your soul cries out for love—you will obey the ancient call.
The harvest of straw refers to his efforts at transmuting himself rather than to his poetry. Lean pickings are in fact a blessing, a guard against complacency and expectation of reward. This kind of poverty makes the sips from the Master’s wine more powerful.
Lovers need curbing, just as an unruly horse needs to be controlled by a really savage bit in its mouth to be broken in.
Baba likes ‘thin-necks’, which mans I suppose the non-greedy, those really in need of nourishment. He also favours ‘survivors from shipwrecks’, those who have come to grief in their voyage of searching.
If you just have ordinary ambition for constructive activity then Art, Science, Government will satisfy. But if you want to die in Baba then increase the lovers of God death rate.
Don’t worry if you are not ready for this fate; the call can come at the right magical moment when our deepest need, the need for love asks for our response.