Poem 15

Each I have known

has been a mirror

To a new aspiration

You alone

are the giver

Of beyond-mere-jubilation.

Else I had remained

a wave

A crest of light


by black water to lave

The stars at night.

As it is

I am a drop of your love-being:

And your fatal kiss

Will end my knowing, seeing.

And this, and this,

From stardom to man-state, always I have been fleeing.

Like the previous poem this is written with an intensity which tends to break up the normal clear statements of his verse. The soul once an emanation of light-energy in the void has made its own journey to incarnation propelled not by other ‘eaches’, that is, other separate things, but by the Giver of the joy which is beyond expression. The whole cosmic journey up to this present moment is breathtakingly summed up in the first two verses.

Now is not for ordinary kisses and love graspings. Now is the encounter with the devouring love-being. All the great journey of seeking was really an avoidance of this fatal but inexpressibly wondrous consummation. We may have thought of our progress through time and space as an evolving quest but really it was just delaying tactics to avoid final death in love. Love alone makes earth’s embodiment possible and actual.

The 14 lines remind us this is in the tradition of love sonnets, but what a universal breath-catching perspective Francis gives. Breaking the lines up into separate phrases slows things and conveys an intensity of feeling of this direct addressing of the Master.