When Dawn tended her rose garden in the eastern sky
I passed along Love Street and heard a distraught one sigh:
Though your house is in this street I am far from your door—
For my tears have become an ocean that has no shore.
What strange tune is this, Beloved, in what mode and mood
That brings your lover to you and puts between a flood?
The moon rose and shone over the winecup’s lip,
And, O God—I was adrift like a derelict ship.
Then the wind blew your hair across the sky, and black night
Fell on the tossed waters and covered the moon from sight.
What I thought was a star, came out—but it was your tear
Which hung and burned through the night and took away all fear.
I would leave this raft and swim back to you—but alas!
Now that daylight has come the waters are broken glass.
The lover’s plaint begins in stanza 2.
This can well be read in conjunction with the previous poem. It gives another facet of the seeker’s reality. This is the endurance of the feeling of utter separation from the Master. It is not a poem of disbelief, of an absurd or abandoned world, it still affirms trust and an intuition of the compassion of God. But it does not hide from the mood of tragic helplessness. In spite of all longing there is an unbridgeable gulf which holds us apart, one which perhaps will require much suffering to cross – broken glass.
How evocative poetry can be. The beauty of nature cannot solace this one’s heart ache. Our longing for His beauty undoes us and becomes a flood. We lose His light. But in our darkness shines the star of His compassion. When daylight comes we lose this star in the everyday reality. There is only the agony of longing.