Poem 17

Traditionally the sonnet has been used as an extravagant sort of love poetry. Some previous poets like Donne, Herbert and Hopkins have, like Francis, requisitioned it to praise and to love God. Here Francis pulls out all the stops of pure visionary hyperbole.

When, at last, I thought I knew your loveliness
I fell from the sun into an emptiness
in which the Pacific was a jewel
glistening on one finger of your caress.

There, a supersonic plane small as a fly
crawled across the plate glass of the sky
and voices drunk on alcohol fuel
floated, complaining, seeking a place to die.

After being locked up in a stone for a hundred years
I heard your voice pure as flames and flutes
awakening the world to a new cosmic Spring,

cancelling the huge sum of my arrears,
bidding me to come forth and strike new roots
in song-soil, and let my love once more essay to sing.

Three quick sentences and he is indeed striking new roots in his poetry with heady visions. Look at all the different sensory images , sight, sound, touch, he uses to make it vivid. This is very much a poem to enjoy imaginatively through the senses rather than trying to extract some message. Love rejoices in the spring . Here Baba is the Spring as the capital letter suggests. Even if we are not poets His advent brings a singing of renewal to our heavily freighted-with-sanskaras souls.

It strikes me that some of these visionary type poems of Francis may be a help for us to remember how unreal and fanciful our perception of the world always is, as thanks to Maia we take the illusory for the real.

At a further remove still from mere statement see poem 19 below.