Poem 55

If your heart-bell hasn’t chimed when the tongue of God-Man’s name has been striking it,
When the hammer of his Word strikes the gong of the world you will hardly be liking it!

If your heart is not then shattered, you can, of course, spend the next seven-hundred years
Scraping and filing away the rust and pittings of ambitions and hopes and fears.

Do not go to one who offers dream-trips — to return from to greater doubt;
Seek the Master who lovingly and patiently plans your dream-self’s armies’ rout.

I took a little trip once, to heaven. The palaces all needed repairing badly,
And the saints, with their wings moulting, were repeating their ‘Hail Marys’ rather sadly.

I returned swiftly to the real heaven of my Beloved’s smile
And begged forgiveness for absence for even so short a while.

The real journey is that from which — except in compassion — there is no returning.
The training for this is had at the Love Street School, where is taught the Great Unlearning.

There is only one lifetime job worthy of a man — the heavenly chore
Of sweeping with his eyelashes the steps leading to the Beloved’s door.

A serious message here, that the encounter with the Master is more real than the world. It is not a dream, particularly it is not the outmoded dreams of the past. It is a living personal encounter, not an imaginative indulgence. Rather than being a dream it is a vocation of service. The whole message is conveyed with a good deal of fun and zest.

In verse 1 nice contrast between on the one hand the resonance of our hearts when struck by Baba’s name, and on the other the great boom of His released Word striking the world. Even then some will not be opened up and will spend the time of His Avataric period laboriously self-polishing (verse2). The cleansing of the heart is made to sound very real and concrete.

Verse 3 reminds us that temporary escapes into ideal experiences can be worse than useless, especially if they are dreams of the clichés of the past worn imaginatively threadbare as in verse 4. The real heaven in verse 5 is in the direct perception of love from the Beloved.

For the first time this Master has taught the full truth of the journey of Involution back to God (verse 6).This he calls the Great Unlearning. Francis was familiar from Pound’s writing of Confucius’ work ‘The Great Learning’. Here the unlearning is the getting rid of all of the myth stuff from the past, that is no longer useful in relating to God and to the world.

Finally not the heavenly choir but the ‘heavenly chore’, mastery in servitude, that sweeping of the steps to the door which hopefully the poem is performing as we say it.