Today I looked in the mirror, and saw a dead man’s eyes.
A mirror when questioned always faithfully replies.
It’s no good thinking that once these eyes were alive and young—
Love requires that we return to stone, from which we have sprung.
Stone is the first stage on the path to dust—so stone-station welcome!
Now there’s the chance for the impress of God’s feet—and that comes seldom.
The whole world is in thralldom to material progress.
In the heart’s still center is the kingdom I would possess.
It is fitting that the eyes should die first before the breath escapes,
For the eyes invested my Beloved with a thousand false shapes.
My eyes have been two serpents that fed on my sense
And grew fat at my immortal spirit’s expense.
Now my mirror has given me some hope. Questioned about my eyes
It answered, Stone-dead.—And a mirror never tells lies.
Behind the vivid hyperbole lies a moving personal surrender and humble acceptance. The poet sees reflected his loss of humanity, stripped from him on his quest, an absence of individual feeling and humanity.
A moment of unvarnished truth before the mirror is made a qualified triumph. Stone, the withdrawal from attachment and reaction to worldly things, is seen as a beginning of the complete loss of individuality necessary to be under the master’s feet. The outer adventure in the modern world is the real thraldom; the apparent thraldom to the inner journey is the real freedom.
The imprinting of stone by the footsteps of God is a traditional motif and symbol in sacred stories and holy places. The coming of the God-Man is a time when even stone can bear the impressions of His feet.
The eyes are the gateway for the deceptions of worldly values. Francis is symbolically rejecting the unsanctified vision of his eyes.
Does a mirror never lie?
Sometimes it tells less than the whole truth.
In Baba’s writing falling back to the stone stage is seen as the terrible punishment of overreachers on the Fourth Plane. But here it is an embracing of the overcoming of separate identity.