A lover asked his beloved,
Do you love yourself more
than you love me?
The Beloved replied,
I have died to myself
and I live for you.
I’ve disappeared from myself
and my attributes.
I am present only for you.
I have forgotten all my learning,
but from knowing you
I have become a scholar.
I have lost all my strength,
but from your power
I am able.
If I love myself
I love you.
If I love you
I love myself.
Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi
To M —
by Edgar Allen Poe
O! I care not that my earthly lot
Hath little of Earth in it,
That years of love have been forgot
In the fever of a minute:
I heed not that the desolate
Are happier, sweet, than I,
But that you meddle with my fate
Who am a passer by.
It is not that my founts of bliss
Are gushing- strange! with tears-
Or that the thrill of a single kiss
Hath palsied many years-
‘Tis not that the flowers of twenty springs
Which have wither’d as they rose
Lie dead on my heart-strings
With the weight of an age of snows.
Not that the grass- O! may it thrive!
On my grave is growing or grown-
But that, while I am dead yet alive
I cannot be, lady, alone.
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you,
say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot. — D. H. Lawrence
The Great Fires
by Jack Gilbert
Love is apart from all things.
Desire and excitement are nothing beside it.
It is not the body that finds love.
What leads us there is the body.
What is not love provokes it.
What is not love quenches it.
Love lays hold of everything we know.
The passions which are called love
also change everything to a newness
at first. Passion is clearly the path
but does not bring us to love.
It opens the castle of our spirit
so that we might find the love which is
a mystery hidden there.
Love is one of many great fires.
Passion is a fire made of many woods,
each of which gives off its special odor
so we can know the many kinds
that are not love. Passion is the paper
and twigs that kindle the flames
but cannot sustain them. Desire perishes
because it tries to be love.
Love is eaten away by appetite.
Love does not last, but it is different
from the passions that do not last.
Love lasts by not lasting.
Isaiah said each man walks in his own fire
for his sins. Love allows us to walk
in the sweet music of our particular heart.