4

Love loves not those whom love fattens, but makes destitute.
From the orchard’s winter ruin burgeons the summer fruit.

If you are desiring well-being it is not your time
For the twists and graces of inconsequential rhyme.

One cannot become one with the beloved (whomsoever)
Until one has severed oneself from selfness for ever.

The great lovers have always ardently pursued death:
First they surrendered their hearts, then their minds, then their breath.

Like the deer and the dog they followed the scent afar;
In the darkest night they gave birth to the brightest star.

Give up hope, foolish heart, ‘there’s no death worse than expectancy’;
Love for love’s sake alone, and you have solved every mystery.

The path is a looped rope with both ends in the same place:
One end was God’s desire, the other is the Master’s grace.

 

‘Burgeons’ is a lovely word meaning to flourish and increase.

Unlike the previous three poems this is not addressed to the Beloved but the poet speaking with the wisdom of experience. This wisdom is not for those directed towards a goal of self-improvement; it is riddling poetry that insists that ruin is inseparable from realizing. “Ask me not what I have gained from my years with Meher Baba, but what I have lost” said His close disciple Adi Sr. With attachment to ourselves it is not possible to experience the Beloved as love. Sacred poetry is full of indirections, of winding and multiple meaning to outwit the mind’s demanding rational answers for its own benefit. Great lovers have dared the dark to find the distant light, counting loss but gain.

As the ‘whomever’ indicates this is put forward as a universal human truth, even if now little known. Francis is here announcing in calm statement the nature of what Meher Baba calls highest Bhakti, where all separation between lover and Beloved disappears. It links with the three former poems of dark voyage in its warning to give up hope, but it places a lofty perspective before us in quiet assertions.

The poem concludes with a glimpse of Baba’s vision of reality. The path, the whole progress from alpha to omega, is a loop, a return from God to God, beginning with His whim to know Himself and ending with His saving action as redeeming God-Man bringing us to our goal.

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