Poem 51

The Master opened the wineshop again last night, and filled our glasses
And comforted us in our dejection. His mercy never ceases.

It wasn’t long before a singer was unwinding a choice melody
And the Master was glancing at one or another meaningfully.

With that, it was a case of each man for himself — the ship of our cares was sinking.
The last thing I remember was Him looking at me and deliberately winking.

My flight was in the empyrean of His smile, eager to meet
Him face to face in his infinity — it ended at His feet.

The Beloved with infinite patience prepares the lover for his destination:
Once the rocket leaves the launching pad he won’t allow it to land on some wayside space station.

It will travel on through space (His shadow) till it reaches Him;
The end of a billion years journey which began with His whim.

In the meantime, the only place of safety is at His feet;
The only prayer, ‘Wine!’ — by which forgetfulness is made complete.

A tavern song where the poet is openly revealing about what those moments with the Master were really like, at the same time never claiming anything for himself but dissolving into His presence.

We notice that such experiences thought timeless occur only now and then, to comfort ‘our dejection’, even though ‘His mercy never ceases’.

Described in terms of a gathering of ecstatics and performers perhaps a bit like a Chishti dervish meeting, plus a nice humorous touch of the Master’s winking, a reminder possibly that all is illusion.

“Every man for himself’ sounds like a literal abandoning of ship. Here it is the ship of cares, of self-concerns, that is being abandoned.

Inseparable from the bliss is the submission, ‘it ended at His feet’ (verse 4). The ‘His’ here capitalized unlike the previous ‘his’ in the line, perhaps to emphasize the reality of this compared to the heavenly flight. The poet brings a rollicking earthiness to the description, rare in Western mystical writing. And the experience of abandoning self-control is guided by the master who does not let our minds become lost in the immense cities of the planes or even to remain at their stations, metaphors often used by Baba.

We are on the express train to Him, at least for now journeying to be ‘at His Feet’. Our prayer can only be for more of the divine wine of self-forgetfulness.

Poems like this can help us remember the exhilaration at our long awaited good fortune.