Poem 83

Again a poem showing God is utterly beyond our thought and imagination but this time that helplessness is a cause for happiness and rejoicing, at least up to a point, for a nice balance is struck. It begins by affirming how even the illusion of our quest could not have been without the presence of the ocean of the infinite One.

If the Beloved had not always been with us how could we be going to Him?
Every bubble-change of the long sea-way has been because of, and through, Him.

The ‘Him’ at the end of each line really rings out. Next an assurance from Mt.10.19, which was also used in poem 58. Everything within and without is by Him:

Not a leaf trembles nor a sparrow falls except by His trembling and falling,
Not a heart gladdens at a loved one’s call except by His gladness and calling.

We have made a dogmatic certainty out of the appearance of our separation from Him so that strange metaphors appear:

Strange it is that we have made the Beloved who is always with us a stranger –
And then have to set out in search of him across mountainous seas of anger.

No wonder the Beloved laughs, and sows strange tales in our ears for our later reaping –
Such as He (who is always with us) comes like a thief in the night when we are sleeping.

The New Testament contains a number of warnings about Jesus returning unheralded and unexpected like a thief in the night. It is a warning to keep alert and remember Him. It is a warning and a threat. Why does Francis find this objectionable? Because he feels that with the Advent of Meher Baba there is a radical change to our relationship with God. No longer just for the few but for many the feeling of the divine presence within us is a shining reality, accessible to our love and need. He comes only as a thief for those who have stolen and commandeered the true nature of God as love:

If he comes as a thief it is only because He comes to thieves.
But He comes as himself, the Beloved, who for Him grieves.

Syntax is a bit wonky here but the meaning ‘to those who grieve for Him’ in the last phrase is clear. He comes to sing the wonder of the one in the many, something only for song; it can’t be put into prose logic:

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.

At least poetry and song can begin to convey the wonder that only the heart can comprehend. The last couplet is both a warning of the limitations of dualistic thought and an affirmation of the power of poetry to remind us of loving presence. The Infinitude of God, a torment for the mind, is a benediction in the heart.