Poem 67

Here Francis straightway reminds us that to be dust at His feet is an aspiration rather than a reality. He is still mostly solid stone, but has not lost hope because he knows his real nature is divine. The magic alchemy of lips and tongue will one day bring forth the marriage of lover and beloved:

The dust blooms and sings; but I am still dumb, apart, bound in stone-binding.
But the Master has kept His shining word and has begun the grinding.

Sometime, somewhere, my lips will be rose-petals and my tongue a nightingale’s;
For despite changes of fortune one’s original nature prevails.

No quick despatch from a sword there, just the slow grinding down through ages. What a play or lila it is, lasting somewhat longer than any human wooing:

When the grinding is completed, there will only remain His lightning Grace-glance
To put an end forever to this hide and seek of a billion years romance.

Next comes a rather touching wish from Francis, to play the game to the very end: the opposites of the game of hide-and-seek have kept him ‘at the mercy’ of the Beloved through the billion year romance, a long premarital ordeal. ‘At the mercy’ conveys not just helplessness but suggests the merciful patience of the Beloved as well.

I have been so long at the mercy of His here-I-am, here-I’m-not divine whim,
That I pray when I die He will not give it out that I have merely come to him.

Let my coming so far not end in less than my own Self-state:
Till then let me return again and again to sing and wait:

Then another wish, this time that his song awakens our thirst. And the poet is ready to stride back out to the street scorning all self-calming, demanding only the naked knowledge of non-dualistic self. His choice is to complete the adventure of the quest.

To sing (and may my singing bring the thirsty to the wineshop door)
And await my proper turn for that glass from His special store.

Let me not, I pray, Be swaddled in a comfortable, forgetful, bliss,
But shoved back in the Street until I am fit for Truth’s final naked kiss.

(The printed version has ‘He-swaddled’ which makes some good sense but for syntactical reasons it seems to be a misprint.)

This is not a desire for an achievement; it is both a desire for service, bringing ‘the thirsty to the wineshop door’, and a patient acceptance of his place in the queue. (Certainly he knows our moment of liberation is decided back at the time of the Whim). He begs not for the bliss of escape but to serve in Love Street until he is ready for ‘Truth’s final naked kiss’. This is a wonderful way of hoping for conscious union, final even while in the body.