When love beckons to you, follow her,
Though her ways are hard and steep.
And when her wings enfold you yield to her,
Though the sword hidden among her pinions may wound you.
And when she speaks to you believe in her,
Though her voice may shatter your dreams as
the north wind lays waste the garden.
 
For even as love crowns you so shall she crucify you.
Even as she is for your growth so is she for your pruning.
Even as she ascends to your height
and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall she descend to your roots
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
 
Like sheaves of corn she gathers you unto herself.
She threshes you to make you naked.
She sifts you to free you from your husks.
She grinds you to whiteness.
She kneads you until you are pliant;
And then she assigns you to her sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread
for God’s sacred feast.
 
 
All these things shall love do unto you
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment
of Life’s heart.
 
But if in your fear
you would seek only love’s peace
and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you
that you cover your nakedness
and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world
where you shall laugh,
but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.
 
Love gives naught but itself
and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not
nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
 
When you love you should not say,
“God is in my heart,”
but rather,
“I am in the heart of God.”
 
And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.
 
 
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and most needs have desires,
let these be your desires:
 
To melt and be like a running brook
that sings its melody to the night
To know the pain of too much tenderness
To be wounded by your own understanding of love.
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer
for the beloved in your heart
and a song of praise upon your lips.
 
Gibran Kahlil Gibran
(1883 – 1931) 
 
 
Photos by Arno Rafael Minkkinen
 
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