Poem 77

If we expect rewards, we have gone over to the Beloved’s enemies.
Even realization of Self – our right – will be when the Beloved shall please.

If we cannot remember the billion years of the tangled sea-bed,
The wave and circuitous currents when hope of shore-coming was dead,

We should not come ashore when borne there, but plunge back again into the deep
For the tides to rock in a comfortable, unending sub-dream sleep.

To clamor, even silently through tears, that now is the marriage season,
Forgetting the long travail and dead hopes, is no less than treason.

For myself, when the chasm yawns before me I will joyfully shout –
For the aeons of journeying will be seen as a little walk-about

I will bow before the face of my Beloved, before His ocean of bliss –
Considering another billion years as but a moment for the whim of His kiss.

I will drain the chasm’s winecup to its last drop of separation
And beg (my last begging) for it to be filled again for an oblation.

So once we know the horses heads are turned towards home we should be utterly content and patient.

Note the contrast between the sea of the wave of evolution and the ocean of bliss at the end. Francis was able to incorporate the fervour of poets like Kabir into these poems of self-oblivion.

Francis never becomes a sombre poet. There is a creative lila going on between him and the Real. He knows that despite the torments of longing, he can never be cut off from the Real.

He takes a shot at biblical verses which describe the coming of Christ as like the coming of a thief in the night(see Poem 83). Such warnings have apocalyptic overtones but in general are warnings to remain watchful. The poet here denies what he sees as a strange image. Christ has come as Baba and come as a loving servant not as thief. But most importantly in a sense God can never come since He is in everything. The great journey is for us to make the effort to come to him even though he is always with us. But every effort is already part of him. The last two stanzas of that poem (83) are the very summit of the vision.

To this one he talks of things strange but sweet to the heart –
Of how the mighty song of the Whole sings in each part;

But, in fact, part and whole belong to seeming – only absolute Isness is.
And at the lover’s delight in this talk, the Beloved showers Him with bliss-kisses.

This experience is not to be seen as an aim or achievement. It is the natural outcome of devotion to the Master.