Misfortune is the ingredient in my food that nourishes;
And grief is the water round my song’s root, and my song flourishes.
How little do they know who seek wealth and increase of pleasure!
In trouble is health and under ruin is the best treasure.
Without separation how could the Beloved’s beauty increase?
My tears are mirrors of loveliness—I pray they never cease.
Even these myriad mirrors are not sufficient to show
All my Beloved’s charms, and ever more restless I grow.
It is the restlessness of wind that sustains fire’s leaping flame.
I pity those who want comfort and peace—how pale their lives, how tame!
The wind and the shuttling sieve are pipe and drum to the dancing grain;
The Beloved’s breath makes the dust dance madly along Lovers’ Lane.
A grain from Song’s harvest fell in the dust, and this my grief nourishes;
And since my Beloved is pleased with my songs my whole life flourishes.
A song of praise inspired by sorrow. The renunciation of the worldly quest for success is a recurring theme.
Just as grain is separated from chaff in the process of winnowing so the dust in its lightness of loss can dance to the exultant rhythms inspired from the Beloved.
The tears of separation are absolutely necessary, for how else but through our longing can we imagine His loveliness? Hence they mirror Him.
One tiny grain from the divine melody is enough to nourish the soul who feeds on grief rather than on self-satisfaction.
Francis’ service in the form of songs was received by his Master. This was the only flourishing he desired.