Although I have always been, I remain in ignorance
As to who and what I am in this mad cosmic dance.
With the sons of God I rode out to the Word-begotten wars;
And our horses’ hooves struck off sparks which became the morning stars.
The son of such an ancient father should know His inheritance:
But the cruel fact remains, it all depends upon His whim’s glance.
True, I have lived riotously and wasted my substance,
While my elder brother toiled against the season’s chance.
From the Beyond I came — and have arrived at the back of nowhere.
Sometimes I dream my father calls, Here! Son, here.
Each morning I take up the journey again — but the distance
Never shortens on this road of surrender and resistence.
I really have no form. My appearance is an illusion.
I ask pardon of any I meet for my seeming intrusion.
Our participation in the supremely grand story of creation has not given us knowledge. Unless we are given the grace of His whim we remain ignorantly whirled around in the ‘mad cosmic dance’. Noble son of a noble father he has been like the prodigal son of the Bible and wasted his substance. And he has not been able to return to his Father’s house but remains an exile, kept wandering by his surrender which still is a form of resistance.
His very feeling of being is inauthentic, so at the end he asks pardon for pretending to be something.
The movement of the poem is the contrast of the epic vastness of creation’s story with the vacant feeling of loss of identity and helplessness we feel. Poems like this strike us as a part of his submission to Baba in which we can share. The sacred story is in Luke’s gospel and the crucial verse here is “And the son said unto him, “Father I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” (Luke15:21.) The Bible story makes it possible for the poem to economically convey a great weight of meaning and feeling. We know the total welcome and forgiveness that will come from the Father but we can appreciate the plight of the seeker who cannot reach home to claim such forgiveness. Francis is so aware of the feeling of inauthenticity that undermines the modern world.