The evening pianos have faltered into silence—because of love.
The night trumpets have wailed their last notes of violence—because of love.
How earnestly we pursue our roles in God’s great game—because of love.
The freshening dream…the kiss, ever new and the same—because of love.
Who, if he could hear his own voice, would go on singing—because of love?
The end remains covered, else few would make a beginning—because of love.
The difference between being pelted with eggs and showered with roses—because of love,
Is less one of talent than one’s fate-share which time discloses—because of love.
We sleep; sometimes we dream; and awaken to a new day—because of love.
A billion years of wayfaring: yet still we don’t know the way— because of love.
We would not yet even have broken out of the Beast-cage—because of love,
If it were not for God-Man’s compassion and holy rage—because of love.
Tomorrow is another day for the battle’s violence—because of love.
The few remaining hours of the night are for wine and silence—because of love.
Meher Baba gave much praise to this poem. Meherwan Jessawalla says it was his favourite Francis poem and he often would have it read out to visitors.
There is a wonderful harmony between its repeated refrain and its evocation of beauty, humour, strangeness and sadness. It shares a magic with Baba’s favourite Western song, Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine.”
The refrain has a strange incantatory quality. The word ‘because’ usually occurs in a strictly causal relationship giving a logical reason why something is happening. Here it is the shadowing of a mystery beyond ordinary understanding, a merciful opacity, an intuitive affirmation. It has different shades of effect each time it is used. It seems somehow to resist the patterns of our conventional thinking.
Thus in the first great stanza there is no logical connection between what has happened and the refrain, yet an elegiac almost ghostly effect opens up our imagination with ‘faltering’ and ‘wailing’. We feel the interplay between sound and its gradual dying away into silence. In that silence the refrain of love somehow makes itself felt.
In stanza 2 the illusions of roleplaying, the dreamlike quality of life and love and a gentle mockery of our ignorance melt away into the mysterious assertion of the refrain.
Stanza 3 make a strange jump between the merciful need for illusion and the refrain which rings out a hidden knowledge.
In the next stanza our imprisonment to fate and time again is given a veiled connection to the refrain’s heart assumption. Life seems like a stage performance.
Stanza 5 deepens the uncanniness as our sleeping, dreaming and wakefulness are all seen as a part of our long human predicament, strangely embraced by the refrain, but seeming as unreal as a dream.
Stanza 6, it is not just a divine compassion but a holy rage at our helplessness that is linked to love. All our efforts seem negated.
In the final stanza suddenly we are in a lived present moment where both noise and struggle and inspiration and silence are held within the mysterious being of love. From the night and silence comes our refuge and joy, a refreshment before we resume the struggle.
The end of the poem links beautifully with the noise and silence of its beginning. All the opposites of the poem have been blended by the alchemy of the refrain.
The magic of a poem has endowed a truth – Creation is the fruit of love – with the poignancy which we recognise as human.