Worldly man or wanderer are the same to us
So long as they’re honest—it’s all God’s game to us.

Also the recluse, he has his place too
So long as his fingers aren’t in other men’s stew.

For the most part the long-haired or the shaven head is a vulture
Eating the guts of the poor and returning no culture.

Though the earth provides enough for everyone’s eating,
Half the world doesn’t fill its belly because of cheating.

Because there are rich, there are poor. When will the poor
Stop standing in bread-lines—and line up at God’s door?

Though none can prove to another God’s mercy and all that,
Though even God’s very existence is hearsay and all that,

Better to risk it and at worst die as a brave man loving him,
Than to live as a dog on political charity’s whim.


Householders or sanyasins are welcome, just so long as they are not hypocritical cadgers. The same goes for hippies and monks and recluses, as long as they pay their way. It is scandalous the way the rich gobble up what should be shared with the poor. Francis had lived through the years of the great depression and seen the cowed breadlines. But anyway it was ever thus. So instead of queuing for charity, line up in Dust Lane outside the tavern for His grace! The revolution that counts is the inner one, accepting hopelessness but using your helplessness to receive a response from God.

Not the sort of advice Marxists would endorse. The ‘and all that’ is the mind and the way it thinks. This mind can never prove the existence of God. But at least you can die as a man asking the question a man asks rather than living as a dog. A very radical poem.

» ghazal #26 »