SONNET XLIII, from "Sonnets from the Portuguese" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need,
by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use In my old grief's, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints,
I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
and call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(for love itself may need a time of sleep)
and, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure - if I can let you go.
SONNET XVII By Pablo Neruda
I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom carries hidden within itself the light of those flowers, and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives dense fragrance that rises from the earth.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.
SONNET XXVI By William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! It is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved
SONNET XXIV By William Shakespeare
When, in disgrace with Fortune and Men's eyke's,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate,
For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
FROM THE "SONG OF SOLOMON" - King James Bible version
My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over, and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the
singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle
is heard in the land.
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the
vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD By Walt Whitman
Allons! The road is before us!
It is safe--i have tried it--my own feet have tried it well--be not detain'd!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen'd!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! Let the money remain unearn'd!
Let the school stand! Mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! Let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.
Camerado, i give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
i give you myself before preaching or law;
will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
TO A STRANGER by Walt Whitman
Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you;
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking (it comes to me, as of a dream).
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you.
All is recalled as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured;
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me;
I ate with you, and slept with you--your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only;
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass--you take of my beard, breast, hands in return;
I am not to speak to you--I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone;
I am to wait--I do not doubt I am to meet you again;
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
THE BARGAIN By Sir Philip Sidney
My true love hath my heart, and i have his,
by just exchange one for another given:
i hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
there never was a better bargain driven:
my true love hath my heart, and i have his.
His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
my heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
he loves my heart, for once it was his own,
i cherish his because in me it bides:
my true love hath my heart, and i have his.
A DEDICATION TO MY WIFE By T.S Elliot
to whom I owe the leaping delight
that quickens my senses in our waking-time
and the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleeping-time,
the breathing in unison
of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
who think the same thoughts without need of speech
and babble the same speech without need of meaning.
No peevish winter wind shall chill
no sullen tropic sun shall wither
the roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only
but this dedication is for others to read:
these are private words addressed to you in public.
BROWN PENNY By William Butler Yeats
I whispered, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.
LOVE SONG By Rainer Maria Rilke
How shall I hold my soul and yet not touch
It with your own? How shall I ever place
It clear of you on anything beyond?
Oh gladly I would stow it next to such
Things in the darkness as are never found
Down in an alien and silent space
That does not resonate when you resound.
But everything that touches me and you
Takes us together like a bow on two
Taut strings to stroke them to the voice of one.
What instrument have we been lain along?
Whose are the hands that play our unison?
Oh sweet song!
TO MY DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more that whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY by Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
HE WISHES FOR CLOTHS OF HEAVEN by W B Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
THE GOOD-MORROW by John Donne
I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not weaned till then ?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly ?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den ?
'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west ?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die
AN EXCERPT FROM A FAREWELL TO ARMS
by Ernest Hemingway
At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal.
We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone.
Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that.
We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.
EXCERPT FROM THE GREAT GATSBY
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"He smiled understandingly - much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.
It faced - or seemed to face - the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour.
It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished - and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.
Sometime before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care."
When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.
WEDDING PRAYER - by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
FROM “MAUD” by Lord Alfred Tennyson
There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
And the white rose weeps, "She is late;"
The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"
And the lily whispers, "I wait."
She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead,
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.
THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE - by Christopher Marlowe
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle,
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs,
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.
The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.
TWO FRAGMENTS - by Sappho
Love holds me captive again
and I tremble with bittersweet longing
As a gale on the mountainside bends the oak tree
I am rocked by my love
NEVER MARRY BUT FOR LOVE by William Penn
Never marry but for love; but see that thou lovest what is lovely. He that minds a body and not a soul has not the better part of that relationship, and will consequently lack the noblest comfort of a married life.
Between a man and his wife nothing ought to rule but love. As love ought to bring them together, so it is the best way to keep them well together.
A husband and wife that love one another show their children that they should do so too. Others visibly lose their authority in their families by their contempt of one another, and teach their children to be unnatural by their own examples.
Let not enjoyment lessen, but augment, affection ; it being the basest of passions to like when we have not, what we slight when we possess.
Here it is we ought to search out our pleasure, where the field is large and full of variety, and of an enduring nature; sickness, poverty or disgrace being not able to shake it because it is not under the moving influences of worldly contingencies.
Nothing can be more entire and without reserve; nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented than such a couple, nor greater temporal felicity than to be one of them.
MY HEART IS LAME by Charlotte Mew
My heart is lame with running after yours so fast
Such a long way,
Shall we walk slowly home, looking at all the things we passed
Home down the quiet evening roads under the quiet skies,
Not saying much,
You for a moment giving me your eyes
When you could bear my touch.
But not to-morrow. This has taken all my breath;
Then, though you look the same,
There may be something lovelier in Love's face in death
As your heart sees it, running back the way we came;
My heart is lame.
You -- you --
Your shadow is sunlight on a plate of silver;
Your footsteps, the seeding-place of lilies;
Your hands moving, a chime of bells across a windless air.
The movement of your hands is the long, golden running of light from a rising sun;
It is the hopping of birds upon a garden-path.
As the perfume of jonquils, you come forth in the morning.
Young horses are not more sudden than your thoughts,
Your words are bees about a pear-tree,
Your fancies are the gold-and-black striped wasps buzzing among red apples.
I drink your lips,
I eat the whiteness of your hands and feet.
My mouth is open,
As a new jar I am empty and open.
Like white water are you who fill the cup of my mouth,
Like a brook of water thronged with lilies.
You are frozen as the clouds,
You are far and sweet as the high clouds.
I dare to reach to you,
I dare to touch the rim of your brightness.
I leap beyond the winds,
I cry and shout,
For my throat is keen as is a sword
Sharpened on a hone of ivory.
My throat sings the joy of my eyes,
The rushing gladness of my love.
How has the rainbow fallen upon my heart?
How have I snared the seas to lie in my fingers
And caught the sky to be a cover for my head? How have you come to dwell with me,
Compassing me with the four circles of your mystic lightness,
So that I say "Glory! Glory!" and bow before you
as to a shrine?
Do I tease myself that morning is morning and a day after?
Do I think the air is a condescension,
the earth a politeness,
heaven a boon deserving thanks?
So you -- air -- earth -- heaven --
I do not thank you,
I take you, I live.
And those things which I say in consequence
are rubies mortised in a gate of stone.
CHANCE by Elsa Gidlow
Strange that a single white iris
Given carelessly one slumbering spring midnight
Should be the first of love,
Yet life is written so.
If it had been a rose
I might have smiled and pinned it to my dress:
We should have said Good Night casually
And never met again.
But the white iris!
It looked so infinitely pure
In the thin green moonlight.
A thousand little purple things
That had trembled about me through the young years
Floated into a shape I seem always to have known
That I suddenly called Love!
The faint touch of your long fingers on mine wakened me.
I saw that your tumbled hair was bright with flame,
That your eyes were sapphire souls with
hungry stars in them,
And your lips were too near not to be kissed.
Life crouches at the knees of Chance
And takes what falls to her.
LETTER OF LOVE by Anna Seward (18th century)
I write, Honora, on the sparkling sand!—
The envious waves forbid the trace to stay:
Honora's name again adorns the strand!
Again the waters bear their prize away!
So Nature wrote her charms upon thy face,
The cheek's light bloom, the lip's envermeil'd dye,
And every gay, and every witching grace,
That Youth's warm hours, and Beauty's stores supply.
But Time's stern tide, with cold Oblivion's wave,
Shall soon dissolve each fair, each fading charm;
E'en Nature's self, so powerful, cannot save
Her own rich gifts from this o'erwhelming harm.
Love and the Muse can boast superior power,
Indelible the letters they shall frame;
They yield to no inevitable hour,
But will on lasting tablets write thy name
HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS - By Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chilliest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity
It asked a crumb of me.
A WHITE ROSE by JB O’Reilly
The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips
SUDDEN LIGHT - by Dante Rosetti
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before,
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall---I knew it all of yore.
Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time's eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death's despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP by Emily Brontë
Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree—
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He still may leave thy garland green.
TO LOVE IS NOT TO POSESS by James Kavanaugh
To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one's self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one's self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another--and to one's inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon's own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child's scars
Or an adult's deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are--and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide
I love her with the seasons, with the winds,
As the stars worship, as anemones
Shudder in secret for the sun, as bees
Buzz round an open flower: in all kinds
My love is perfect, and in each she finds
Herself the goal: then why, intent to teaze
And rob her delicate spirit of its ease,
Hastes she to range me with inconstant minds?
If she should die, if I were left at large
On earth without her-I, on earth, the same
Quick mortal with a thousand cries, her spell
She fears would break. And I confront the charge
As sorrowing, and as careless of my fame
As Christ intact before the infidel.
DESIDERATA by Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy
"INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE IN THE NEW MILLENIUM" by his holiness the 14th Dali Lama
“Take into account that great love
and great achievements involve great risk.
And that a loving atmosphere in your home
is the foundation for your life.
Be gentle with the earth, be gentle with one another.
When disagreements come remember always
to protect the spirit of your union.
When you realize you’ve made a mistake,
take immediate steps to correct it.
Remember that the best relationship is one
in which your love for each other
exceeds your need for each other.
So love yourselves, love one another,
love all that is your life together and all else will follow.”
EXTRACT FROM CAPTAIN CORELLI’S MANDOLIN by Louis de Bernieres:
"Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two."
SCAFFOLDING by Seamus Heaney
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall,
Confident that we have built our wall
LOVE IS FRIENDSHIP – By Ann Landers
Love is friendship that has caught fire.
It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.
It is loyalty through good and bad times.
It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses
FROM THE IRRATIONAL SEASON by Madeline L’Engle
But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take...It is indeed a fearful gamble...Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.
To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take...If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation...It takes a lifetime to learn another person...When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.
If I should die this very moment,
I wouldn’t fear,
For I’ve never known completeness,
Like being here,
Wrapped in the warmth of you,
Loving every breath of you,
Still my heart this moment – or it might burst.
Could we stay right here,
Till the end of time
Till the earth stops turning
I want to love you till the seas run dry,
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for
All this time I’ve love you
And never known your face,
All this time I’ve missed you
And searched this human race
Here is true peace,
Here my heart knows calm,
Safe in your soul – bathed in your sighs
Could we stay right here
Till the end of time
Till the earth stops turning
I will love you till the seas run dry,
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for …
All I’ve known
All I’ve done
All I’ve felt
Was leading to this
LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET― Rainer Maria Rilke
For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.
Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person—it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distance…
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distance exists, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of seeing each other as a whole before an immense sky.
THE INVITATION – by Oriah
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring with your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!"
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand alone in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back....
CANAL BANK WALK - By Patrick Kavanagh
Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
Pouring redemption for me, that I do
The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal,
Grow with nature again as before I grew.
The bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third
Party to the couple kissing on an old seat,
And a bird gathering materials for the nest for the Word
Eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
Of fabulous grass and eternal voices by a beech,
Feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
To pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
For this soul needs to be honoured with a new dress woven
From green and blue things and arguments that cannot be proven