We have come to understand that whomever God loves he ruins.
Small beer is that god who deals in increasings and accruings.

Fair trade: charity the investment, priest to do the haggling;
And a sort-of-a-Kingdom-come for the poor and the straggling.

No man has ever increased his height by taking thought;
With works no man has ever bought that which cannot be bought.

Else it were that honors and riches are the tokens of love—
That the eagle and the lion are more blessed than the dog and the dove.

Every time God-Man has come he has told us the same thing:
Let the dead bury the dead; follow me for I am your king.

To those who are not ready he fulfils their desire;
To those who obey him he gives a consuming fire.

By ruin we have evolved to manhood from stardust;
From ruin God will raise us to Godhood—if we trust.


God is not to be approached as an investment or an insurance policy. He strips us of every possession, including our identity.

Stanza 2: conventional religiosity sees salvation from works with absolution coming through a professional priesthood, with promises of a pie in the sky for those who lack the good things of this life.

Stanza 3: once more the words of Jesus (Mt.6:27). All is done by God and provided by His mercy. As so often in Francis’ poetry the rhyme brings a pithy completeness and strength to his statement.

Stanza 4: degree and reward are of a completely different order of being to the love of god for creaturely nature.

Stanza 5: Jesus advice to one who wished to go off and bury his father – “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” is taken as advice to live in the precious moment of Avataric presence, not the traditions of the past.

Stanza 6: as with Jesus, the beginning of real discipleship is taking up the cross of obedience. See Heb: 12,6 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourges every son whom he receiveth.”

Stanza 7. From the great combustions of supernovae we have evolved through numberless ruins and starts. . Involution, which is a becoming as dust beneath His feet in obedient trust, will lead us back to Godhead.

With clarity and economy we have been given a picture of breathtaking vastness, simplicity and beauty.

» ghazal #34 »