The income from an industrial complex cannot buy
That which the meanest of God’s lovers obtains with one sigh.
The men of the path though ragged have long arms to pluck the high fruit
The mere smell of which the well-tailored are in earnest pursuit.
A ‘Degree’ is a work-ticket and has nothing to do with learning;
Knowledge begins with the Beloved’s glance which sets the soul burning.
There is much grand talk nowadays about nuclear energy;
But even God can be brought low by a lover’s threnody.
Let it be recorded once and for all a man’s a fool
When he sweats to make a machine and becomes its tool.
Instead of by the length of his arm one is judged by his suit
The wool or fur or hide of which was once the coat of some brute.
Our theories of trade, culture and science and our party line
Begin from our Beloved’s glance and end in a glass of wine.
As the italics in the last line indicate, the perspective of us the seekers comes from the real essentials, the glance of the Beloved making us feel His love and the glass of His wine which dissolves our separation into bliss. The poet is insisting on the gulf between materialist culture and the men of the path.
It is not a “drop out, tune in” message but the sureness that God Himself responds to the self-emptying seeker. This seeker’s reach can extend to the high fruit.
Facts are not learning and He gives a despairing glance at modern universities which have abandoned the attaining of universal oneness.
A ‘threnody’ is a song of mourning or lamentation, here especially of longing for God. God submits and also descends to such pleas.
The worship of machines was evidence of slavery to the material world.
Real attainment is replaced by outer adornment.
A ‘party line’ is generally an ideology adopted for reasons of expediency and conformity. Ours dissolves the mind.
The clarity of the couplets make Francis’ case seem eminently reasonable.