and there fell a stillness upon them. With a great voice, he said:
When love beckons, you follow him.
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold, you yield to him
Though the sword hidden among his pinion may wound you.
And when he speaks to you, believe in him,
Though his voice may shutter your dreams as the north winds lay waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you, so shall he crucify.
Even as he is for your growth, is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest
branches that quiver in the sun.
So shall he descend to the roots of you,
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn, he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you, to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husk.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant.
And then, he assigns you to his 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 come a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and its 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 that 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 must 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 great thanks for another day of love;
To rest at the noon hour, and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home with gratitude;
and then, to sleep with a prayer for your beloved in your heart
And a song of praise upon your lips.