Poem 39

Wanting love is much easier than becoming love. Desiring some nice state of peace and enjoying beauty is not what service is about.

Words are effective covers over faces and things;
And from your words, Beloved, new false hope bravely springs.

Your promises are salt wavelets caressing the beach of my breast,
While I thirst for spring water and a green, sheltered place of rest.

Which simply shows that I am back where I started in this love-racket—
A rank beginner in the I-will-love-you-if-you-love-me bracket:

I am really a plastic flower stuck in a vase,
While my spirit wanders in the field of the stars.

I could remain content wandering among these lights born from your eyes,
If I were not nagged by the knowledge that in work is true courtesy.

The sun is no more than ash from one spark of your divine fire,
The earth’s forms are but your beauty’s reflection caught in desire.

The Silence of your Word breathes through faces and things;
And the Word of your Silence in each one eternally sings.

Unlike most poetry, content with the merely beautiful, Francis is a no-nonsense transcendentalist always looking beyond the transient to the silence of God, spurning his own artificial, superficial, appetitive nature. But even this is useless stuff unless linked to service of the Master. He intuitively witnesses to the truth of “Mastery in Servitude”. Words like ‘love-racket’, ‘nagged’ and ‘plastic flower’ make sure the diction of the poem is not airy-fairy. The ability to jar and confront gives the verse memorable power. Has scorn for the world of the senses ever been better put than in the 2nd last stanza?

Because verse like this is so honest and personal it never becomes a mere exhortation to the reader.