Poem 37

Francis said that while our personal relationship is with Baba, our culture is Christian, and it is remarkable how often echoes of the Bible occur in the poems. Here the guarding of Love with a flaming sword echoes Genesis 3.24 – where God places cherubim and a flaming sword to prevent re-entry to Eden and the tree of life. This is an important resonance, but the main drift of the poem illustrates words of Meher Baba in The Everything and The Nothing:

Whether men soar to outer space or dive to the bottom of the deepest ocean they will find themselves as they are, unchanged, because they will not have forgotten themselves nor remembered to exercise the charity of forgiveness. ( p.69)

See how Francis’ imagery brings a glitter of energy and definiteness to the theme:

A man, try as he will, can never accomplish his purpose.
Mind is a space-traveller on the back of a lame tortoise.

There is a sadness about all travellers; they never arrive
At any other door than the one from which with bright hope they leave.

Even though it were possible to reach Stars’ End,
He would never find what he set out for – the bosom of the Friend.

Love is guarded by a flaming sword against all intrusion.
What is in the shops of the world are well-fitting illusions.

The lover stands still and lets the road fly away under his feet.
In the night when the Beloved’s face rises, the journey is complete.

But all this is mere manner of talk: without the Grace of the master
The road is the rim of a wheel that spins ever faster and faster.

My heart, do not remain in the dust: become it – the dust that blows along Love Street.
Some evening when the Master opens his door you may, perhaps, kiss His feet.

Using mind to find our realty as humans is as pathetic as exploring space on a lame tortoise. The real journey is to return to the One, our being becoming His. This true consummation of love is guarded and comes only with surrender, the inner stillness captured in the beautiful tentative conclusion to the poem. Once more the great symbol of dust is used to convey the death to self and the total abasement of love outside the tavern.