by Kahlil Gibran

When love beckons to 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 pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you, believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth, so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots
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 husks.
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 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 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 your laughter,
And weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes nothing 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 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 fulfil 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 into 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 a prayer
For the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.