Poem 36

Francis ready to return in death to dust, confident of being part of a process where dust sings songs to the beloved, for out of the dust of his surrender has come the songs we read and sing. The last verse makes a nice unsentimental ending as he is a bit humorous about divine intoxication. He actually knows that he will be reborn still aware of the fragrance of the Avatar.

Without that ending the poem might appear a bit whimsical and indulgent. But its main purpose is perhaps to inspire others to take up ‘song-duty’.

He felt that if Baba was starting to give him some tender blessings then his time must nearly be up. The tender influences from heaven are nice but not to be compared with the wine of serving the Master. But he still had a long and rocky path to tread.

You have expressed much loving-kindness to me of late,
Bending down from your Beyondness, tender, compassionate;

Bending down as a beautiful rain cloud healing the parched earth,
As a breeze from the hills filling the night with its perfumed breath.

By this I know that I am now not very far from death —
Which I welcome, for it will bring me closer to you in birth.

I would only grieve if there were none to take my place in song-duty:
But you have lovers enough to celebrate your eternal beauty.

And will not my dust whisper inspired songs in the singers’ ears,
So that they will sing all night, sing! till the pale dawn appears?

And will not you, in the dawn, open to them your door;
And a few drops may spill on my dust of the wine you pour?

Because of your loving kindness I can cheerfully welcome death.
And I know I will be born again, with the smell of wine on my breath.