Poem 27

With maybe a bit of relief we find Francis returning to the regular rhyming and strong statements of each couplet. It is a poem with a wonderful capacity to surprise us in its images and thoughts, and which builds up to a profound conclusion.

The desire of the drop is to return to the ocean:
When separation is perfect, journey loses its motion.

The metaphor of the drop and the ocean and the drop’s desire to return is a standard part of Baba’s metaphor for evolution and evolution. It is a bit challenging to have the separation described as ‘perfect’. This stasis is surely never reached, we can never be completely separate from the infinite.

Next the Beloved is addressed in terms which describe our mutual participation in the epic journey from clashing stars to the ‘terrible plains’ where we are aware of our separation. Death could only be overcome through this separation awareness.

My destiny with you, Beloved, was in the Word of your Breath
When it ordered the white suns to battle to overcome death.

In my journey across these terrible plains of separation,
The train has brought me to a shanty town called Annihilation.

He may not have reached some heavenly city but he has reached the ‘shantytown’where surrender is acknowledged. This is unlike his earlier days of the crazed dance of love, feeling the Beloved’s glance. Now is a total acceptance of his own nullity, conveyed in images of thirst and poverty and desert. The ‘gunny-sack’ is not so far removed from the Biblical ‘sackcloth’, garment of repentence and destitution. (Jonah3:8)

Now I am deprived of even the oppression of your glance,
Which, in the days of love madness, set the measure of my dance.

I camp by a salt water-hole which has blistered my tongue;
My eyes are two holes in a gunny-sack bleached by the sun.

After this vivid image we next have the figure of a skeleton with no bones and then the conclusion. This suffering in desert places of barrenness and bitter water can be rejoiced in because seen as the very thing that makes love possible, like an iridescent sheen on such water. Out of conscious acceptance comes the beauty of love. This transcends all personal concerns.

I have become a skeleton that has no bones
To support my flesh in this country of sand and stones.

Yet I praise the separation, for it has written your name
On the waters of my tears in the colours of bright flame.