Poem 62

The mystery alluded to in the previous poem is here treated with high humour, having a joke with the Beloved. The same old problem, how to praise the Real using the unreal, and what is more, actually being the unreal oneself!

Thank God you have shown me that the world is a nothingness and that God is a myth.
Only you and I are; and since I am not, there is only you to reckon with.

What a summation of our existential plight the first verse is. It thanks God and says He is a myth. God is an encounter not a concept or story. Such a realization is indeed beyond words so in the second verse the poet turns to a more legitimate use of words, evoking the beauty of the Friend.

And that is too much — so I don’t. I just try to entertain you at odd moments
By praising your beauty and recounting some of the varieties of your glance.

I think Francis is right in verse three – his verse is showing the maturing of relaxed mastery, doubtless with some God given inspiration.

Your being is knowledge, power and bliss, and love is your nature; to sing is mine:
And my song is gradually maturing under the influence of your wine.

Of course he refuses to take himself seriously and makes those mock pleas for easy lubrication in the next two verses.

Why then be so niggardly? Give a a little more of the precious stuff,
And I will consider the most astonishing figures less than enough.

A dry throat is no good for a singer, it must have plenty of lubrication;
Otherwise it cannot be a fit vehicle for song’s nude jubilation.

And then his poem does a little graceful dance of praise to His master which must have been a real pleasure to read out to Meher Baba.

What is the good of having given me song, unless it dances before your eyes
In ever-varying vestments and colours of infinite surprise?

What a pity that we alone are (and I am not) in the whole of space —
That there are not worlds upon worlds to pay homage to your beauty and grace.

No doubt the poet is alluding here to David capering before the ark of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14) in a joyful praise, and to Joseph’s coat of many colours (Gen 37) which he wore as a gift from his father. At the same time he wants his song to express ‘nude jubilation’, the sheer nakedness of the meeting with God.

He knew of course that his art, using the modern lingo of English could never approach the harmonious stillness and perfection of the greatest Avataric art, see for example the statue of the teaching Buddha at Sarnath of the 5th century. However limited his medium and his skill he trusted in Baba to irradiate his songs. Something of the glorious paradoxes of the infinite God is evoked in this song, paradoxes only finally resolved in the Mystery of the God-Man.