Dawn is a friend who comes to rouse the lover from grief,
And enemy, for from his pain he wants no relief.
Without separation’s pain how can he be aware
Of the Beloved’s presence in the perfumed air?
The deep night breathes quietly as a woman sleeping;
In the silence of it song’s harvest spirit is reaping.
With the rising of the sun the world’s day begins,
The day of the market and gossip—the sowing of sins.
In the daylight of the world the lover is like a fish
Hooked and thrown up on the burning sand to writhe and perish.
He longs for the ocean of night with its islands of stars,
And the white hand of his Beloved that heals the day’s scars.
In the silence continues the siege of the Beloved’s beauty;
And his soul’s sigh steals out and goes on sentry duty.
It is, as many know, not an easy task to be facing the turmoil of the workaday world when one’s being is longing for the quiet and dark intimacy of wooing the presence of the Beloved.
But Francis is not being softly sentimental about this. He claims that the pain of day is that it relieves us of the torment of seeking the distant and elusive Beloved. And the torment of search is food for us because it creates awareness of His beauty in the perfumed air. He is not wishing to withdraw from the world for peace of mind.
The torment of the night is a healing and regeneration. It does not matter in the least how wearisome the siege of the beloved in His fortress may be, patrolling with longing despite His absence is the only life!