Michigan ~ Day 206

Meds

The Prophet:

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 height and caresses 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 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 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 a 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…

… think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course…

… 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 in 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…

… what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable? …

… in the autumn, when you gather the grapes of your vineyards for the winepress, say in your heart,
“I too am a vineyard, and my fruit shall be gathered for the winepress,
And like new wine I shall be kept in eternal vessels.”
And in winter, when you draw the wine, let there be in your heart a song for each cup…

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work…
… in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret…

Work is love made visible…
… if you cannot work with love but only with distaste…
… if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night…

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked…
… the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears…
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain…

… you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty.
Unbidden it shall call in the night, that men may wake and gaze upon themselves…

… you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing? …

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger and you seek him for peace…

… when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend…
… that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain…

If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also…
… it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness…

… what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters…

… beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears…

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute…

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

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