These are not the times for the clean word, the straight sentence;
For the turning and the praise which is the true repentance.
These are the times to talk about machines and gadgetry.
To praise Big Business, sing markets and racketry.
Your commodity, poet, is superfluous in these times:
You may as well face it, once and for all, nobody wants clear rhymes
In verse or prose—words carefully, lovingly chosen,
Clean as bell-chimes at evening. That stock is frozen.
True, complaints of neglect have been voiced all down the ages;
But there have been times when kisses and gold were paid for fair pages.
But take heart, poet, conditions have now reached rock bottom.
God cannot stand any longer our Gomorrah and Sodom
Of words. In the creative silence of pure Existence he rehearses
His Song of Songs; and those who praise his Song will be well paid for their verses.
Poets in the past have functioned to purify the dialect of the tribe. But things now have become unbelievably bad. In making his complaint Francis gives us a good idea of the sort of poetry and language use he himself is creating. Clean word and straight sentence aptly describe his style. Simple sentences and clear rhymes, the product of the dedicated craftsman goes unvalued in the modern marketplace (how right he was!). In the past poets like Hafiz and Chaucer have read before kings.
However, like the biblical cities of the plain the modern world is ripe for divine judgment. The great song of a new redemption is ready to burst out of Baba’s silence. It will be like the Bible’s Song of Songs a great utterance of love’s wonder. Then, bring it on, poets who praise the divine song will be rewarded. Notice that this book of the Bible uses carnal imagery for divine purpose. There is no great division between flesh and spirit.
True poetry springs out of real love as opposed to the greed and decadence of the ‘Cities of the Plain’, which in the Bible were destroyed with fire because of their corruption.