The Beloved is kindness itself, he grants every prayer.
But it is a wise man who knows for what he prays—so beware.
Awake or asleep, on every breath is a smoking desire—
Yet who would believe his nostrils are a dragon’s breathing fire?
Each thinks he is a lamb or a lily—or at least
Not stink-wort or one of the more obnoxious types of beast.
Smoothly, soundlessly the wheel of birth and death whirls round.
Only God’s Grace can save one—but where can God be found?
All right! Whether lamb or ox or ass, the road is shorter
If you stop seeking pasture, and offer yourself for slaughter.
Slaughter! Well, why not? The Lamb of God is slaughtered every day.
If one objects to a little spilt blood one is not yet fit for the way.
The simplest way if you would really see love’s lovely shape:
Sew up your lips so that you cannot ask, nor may complaint escape.
A mocking of the images and concepts of conventional pretty piety. He knows the human tendency to approach God through petitionary prayer which asks for satisfaction of wants from the divine gift-cow. It shows a bland ignorance of the monstrous ugliness of our unregenerate natures.
How to find God and get off the turning wheel of existence? A striking answer, be as an animal offering itself for slaughter. An integral part of the path is sacrifice, ours and God’s. And even more of a shock is his final piece of advice, so brutal and physical, to bring home the urgency of our predicament. The poetry can be very tough minded.