Poems of Love & Truth

by

BRIAN CLEEVE

CHARITY

Charity is warmth of love,

Passion of giving.

Beloved, can one love a stranger?

Yes, for I am in the stranger.

In the beggar, in the sinner.

All in need of love are Mine,

My dearest ones, My children.

Never one so lost to hope

That My Love cannot reach him.

Charity is of the heart

Not of calculation.

Not of purse or careless giving

Coins thrown to a beggar.

Charity is of the self,

Offered to Me.

Here is my heart, my self, my life,

All I have for giving.

All that is mine is Yours

My God, my Beloved, take my heart, take my all

 To feed your lost children.

***

LOVE

Oh my Love, my Dear one:

I would sing You lullabies

 Lullabies my darling

 sleep my love

 rest my love

 Lie in my arms softly.

Tender love, gentle love, hush Your fears my darling.

Mara will guard You,

Hold You

 Protect You

Love You for always.

Now You are sleeping, soft your breathing,

 Peaceful Your dreaming,

Gentle my singing.

Do Your dreams hear me?

Know that I love You?

Cradle song,

Child song, love song.

Sleeping lips smiling.

Little frog croaking!

Oh my love, my love.

***

Love is kindness

But kindness is not enough.

Love is warmth

But warmth is not enough.

Love must be tender.

But tenderness is not enough.

 Love is selfless giving,

But that is not enough.

Love is a passion

 But passion is not enough.

Love is Wisdom,

The wisdom to protect the

 Beloved even against Herself.

All that is human love.

But then there is the Love of God.

That love is absolute.

It is all things that love can be.

It is desire for death.

It is a longing that tears the heart.

It is a passionate obedience

That holds desire at bay.

It is a passionate desire

That conquers even obedience to God.

It is a burning of the soul.

The Lover’s being.

There is no thought finds

room in the Lover

That is not a thought

Of the Beloved.

This love is a piercing sorrow.

This love is joy beyond all imagining.

This love is a coming home.

To Your true home.

***

SEPARATION

My beloved, I have searched for you

 And have not found you.

I have been to the villa by the sea

And it was empty.

Dead leaves had blown in

 And lay like reproaches

On the marble floor.

The doves that used to circle

Above the roof have gone.

There is only silence.

In your bedroom your silk gown

Lies on the couch.

I hold it against my eyes, my mouth,

 And breathe in your scent.

I dream that I hear your footsteps.

The music of your voice.

 Where have you gone, my love?

I went up into the mountains.

To the high valley, to find our refuge.

Surely you must be there?

I shall find you by the fire.

Waiting for me.

The valley is white with snow,

only the marmots

And the mountain hares and foxes

Have left their swift footprints there.

None lead to the door.

It swings open and only the cold

Greets me. White ashes lie on the stone hearth.

How long is it since we sat here.

 Warming our cold hands at its bright flames?

 How long since we lay in one another’s arms

Before its embers?

Surely if I light the fire again

You will come, you will see the smoke rising

From the chimney.

You will say, “He is there!”

My beloved is searching for me

 I will go up to him in the high valley

Among the Mountains.

Only wait for me, my soul.

And I shall come to you!

But you do not come.

I go down into the forest.

To the house by the lake.

Oh surely I shall find you there?

The reeds of the lake are frozen

The grass of the meadow is still with frost.

The windows of the house are like sightless eyes.

 I know you have gone from there

Long ago.

Where shall I search now?

I go down into the dark City.

Its ugliness surrounds me.

I find the street where we lived,

The gate of the courtyard is broken.

The house is desolate.

Only rats scurry as I search the empty rooms.

The smell of decay has entered them.

The walls run with wet, with yellow slime.

I run from the house,

Begin to search the streets.

I search the alleyways

Where the homeless bury their despair.

Are you among them, bringing Her love to them,

Her compassion?

But She told us to leave the City

You cannot have disobeyed Her.

My soul, my love, my heart’s companion.

Where can I look for you?

I go down to the sea below the cliff.

The waves care nothing for my loneliness.

The sea gulls cry in the cold wind.

Has a ship carried you away To a foreign land?

Clouds are driven across the winter sky.

I am drenched by a cold rain.

What does it matter if you are not here?

I stare out at the empty horizon.

Only its emptiness answers me.

Let me sing to you my darling

Let my love sing to you.

Let the singer die

But not the song.

So small a song

Like a sparrow’s in the morning.

Yet it is all the good in me.

Listen to my song, my darling.

Just for a moment. Then forget.

I do not know how to love You.

All my passion is desire

To Kneel before You,

Serve You, trembling to touch Your foot,

Gaze on Your beauty day and night.

All my desire; not Yours,

Which might be to see the last

Of such unwanted love.

Such selfish adoration.

Send me away, that I may die out of Your sight;

Not trouble Your dear heart

With unfelt grief.

You torture me with love’s delight.

Promising love’s wondrous gifts.

And then, as I creep close You turn away,

As if December followed May,

Freezing spring’s timid flowers

But when I fetch my winter cloak

Knowing love has died.

Within the day

High summer melts the snow

Until love’s roses grow in confidence

Unclose their buds, filling June’s warmth

With headiness; the sweetest scent

Of love answering love.

But how long is it

Before the ice breath of winter

Withers them?

***

My Love

You tell me you are growing old.

My love, my darling.

See this grey hair that has escaped the dye?

This wrinkle that betrays my face?

Will you still love me when I am truly old?

How can I convince you, my heart’s desire?

What vows, what promises?

Lips can lie.

But look into my eyes and see the truth.

It is your inner beauty that I love.

Your soul that burns like a white flame.

All your obedience to Her,

Your strength of purpose.

When I look at you I do not see your age.

Only your goodness and your purity.

***

The Marguerite Seller

Who will buy my marguerites,

Pretty lady, handsome Lord?

Who will buy my marguerites?

Two a penny, two a penny!

Gathered in the dew of morning

 In the light of earliest morning,

While the lady was still sleeping

 With her gentle Lord beside her.

So much beauty for a penny!

But the lady shakes her head.

Only roses, red as blood.

Only blood-red roses please her,

Thorns to tear her lover’s fingers.

Not the gentle marguerites.

Two a penny, two a penny.

Open your breast, my dear one.

Take out your heart.

Hold it in your cupped hands

As if it were a bird, asleep in its warm nest.

Now take a knife, dear, dearest Rachel,

And thrust it in, into Miranda’s beating heart

 And see the blood flowing.

See the scarlet fountain of her love for Me.

 Drink from it.

That is the love that you must learn.

***

Then how shall I tell her of my love?

It is like a field of flowers

That once was full of weeds,

Of briars and thorns, but now

Is bright with daisies, white and gold.

And dandelion and yellow buttercups.

There is soft grass, silken green

And in the hedge that guards it

From prying eyes wild woodbine grows

Cream yellow, beautiful as moonlight.

And in May time, that is Her month

Her veil is spread, whiter than the moon

There are no garden flowers, no roses

Nothing a gardener could be proud to show.

 Only the humblest of offerings

But round an oak tree that stands

In the centre of the field

There comes year long

 A sweet procession; snow drops first.

And then the crocuses, yellow and white

 And purple in the earliest days of spring.

 Dwarf daffodils come next,

Too secret to lift their heads too high.

But like golden mouths they cry

I love, I love, Oh, hear my whispering!

I love! I love!

Dark violets then, hiding their purple beauty

In their soft green leaves, like maidens

Ripe for love and marrying.

And all year through the daisies,

Humblest of all flowers.

Yet dearest to the sun, that calls to them

Each morning “Wake, wake

My little ones, open your golden eyes

 To the new day, welcome Me”.

And their pure petals, angel white, open,

In loving welcome to the sun.

And all day long they breathe their love for Her.

As I breathe mine for You.

You are the moon rising

In a silent sky.

You are the golden stars.

The dark trees lift up their arms to you.

The small creatures of the night

Greet You in wonder,

the owl opens her great eyes

To reflect Your light.

Softly, gently. You rise up.

Into the purple darkness.

And I hold up my arms to You.

Weeping, weeping.

How can I come to You,

Heaven’s Mistress, Queen?

I lie down on the cold earth.

Will it open to receive my body.

Release my soul?

Your light reaches down to me.

In love’s caress.

Wait for me, wait for me.

Your light is whispering.

How can I believe you love me?

Vileness of vileness.

Darkness of darkness.

Hell would have contempt for me.

Let me vanish out of your sight,

Cease to offend You!

But no, no, let me be burned clean.

Until my bones are white!

Let me be burned in the Sun’s heart.

In Brahma’s furnace.

Let all that is me be burned away.

***

I hold my Beloved’s linen

in my hands.

I hold it to my cheek,

Breathe in its scent.

How can I attempt

To cleanse its perfect cleanliness?

I lay it on the ground.

On the flat rock beside the river,

And gaze on it as if it was

My love who lay before me.

I touch, and stroke, bend down to kiss the folds.

My senses burn with love

And I lie down in ecstasy,

To dream that it is You I touch, I hold.

Soft, golden light.

And you within the Light.

More delicate than the petals of a rose.

I saw Your dear feet.

Their slenderness

And longed to kneel and kiss them.

Tear out my heart for them

To protect them from the stones.

I long for You, my love. My Beloved,

As the desert longs for rain,

I long for You as the flowers

Long for the morning

And the warmth of the sun.

I long for You as the winter

Longs for Spring

I long for you as the frozen river

Longs for the ice to melt.

I long for You as the mother

Longs for her child to be born.

And all these longings

Are the palest echoes of the longing

That I have for You.

***

Burning Bright, Burning Bright,

Cleanse my soul.

How shall I serve You?

How shall I love You?

Shall I wash the dust from Your feet

With my tears?

Shall I dry them with my hair?

Shall I offer You my heart

To warm Your hands?

Shall I offer You my soul

As a coverlet for Your bed?

Could my life make a pair of shoes for You?

If I gave You my eyes

Could they make a brooch

For Your breast?

Out of my love for You

Could You make music?

Could my song of love

Rise up to greet You

At Heaven’s Gate?

Could You accept it, answer it

With Your own singing?

Lie quiet in my arms my dear one,

Let your tears fall on my breast.

 Where you hear my heart beating

Do you hear what it says? I love you

 I love you, dearest child.

Dearest sister, dearest friend.

Let my arms hold you, guard you for ever.

Be still and listen to my heart.

***

Beatrice The Doorway

Early and late

Early and late

I sit by the doorway

 Named Despair.

I am the Keeper of the Door

And I wait Until some spirit comes

With firm, defiant tread,

 Commanding me to open,

“Unbolt the door!”

I will go through no matter what

May lie beyond.

Be quick, doorkeeper.

I have no mind to linger here.

I obey.

The hinges creak their message

Of despair.

“No hope. No hope”

And through the opening

Comes the cold wind

 Of hopelessness.

Despair. Despair.

And that brave spirit

 Kneels, and falls

Face down.

Screaming a silent scream

Of terror.

“Shall I close the door?”

I ask, but no answer comes.

Only that silence of defiance breaking.

***

Dearest Sister, precious companion – all is well, all will be well.

If a storm is coming let me shelter you, let me hold you in my arms,

your head against my breast. Let me keep the cold wind from you.

When the snow falls on us, take refuge in my heart.

All that I have is yours. I belong to you -

She has given me to you as your guardian, to keep you

from all harm.

If the evil ones come near us, I drive them away.

My love is your shield, my obedience is the sword that protects you.

***

Favourite Poems – Quotations

“Fools, for I also had my hour.

One far, fierce hour and sweet

There was a shout about my ears

 And palms before my feet”.

and another

“Keep right on to the end of the road

Keep right on to the end….”

Where my heart lay

There is an empty space Marked

 ”Gone away”

No more, no extra words

 to say

“Gone to lunch -”

Or “gone on holiday.”

When will my heart Come back?

And if – oh if one day it does return

 Will You allow it to stay?

***

The Miracle

It is my own secret miracle

 That I can be of service here

Beside this Doorway.

For I know Despair.

I keep it in my heart

Like a disease.

When spirits come.

Swaggering in defiance.

Or at the last shred

Of their exhaustion

To fall face down Beside me.

Longing only for escape -

I show my heart to them.

And they,

In fear or horror turn away.

Run from that place

Or crawl on hands and knees

So that they may escape

 The sight of my scarred face

***

Forgiveness

They say that God forgives all sins.

Of course She does.

But sin is like a wound.

Forgiveness heals it.

But the scar remains.

Look at my face.

You see these crimson scars.

 Suppose I were given an angel’s wing

 A halo, to walk among the saints!

 How shall I hide my face?

***

The Doorway

I sit by the Doorway of Despair.

A spirit comes, jeering, tormenting me.

I say to it. Beware.

As I am now.

One night may find you

In this same place.

For me there is no escape.

All hopes are dead.

But your case

May be less terrible

Think – before it is too late.

Think and repent.

The spirit turned away and went

Bent shouldered.

Thoughtfully

***

The Self

If love is not strong enough

To destroy the self

Obedience must do it

Passionate as love.

Thy Will be done in me.

Burn every trace of self

Scatter the vile ashes

To the winds.

No more awareness.

Consciousness of “I”

Of “me”

All wants, desires

Burned away -

Where once I was

Let there be nothingness.

***

Longing

How I have longed for you!

Year after slow year.

Longed to hold You close.

To love You, be with You,

See You, kneel in the shadows

Watching You, adoring, loving.

Even for no return.

But oh! But oh!

Dreaming of a return!

A secret love affair

To lie beside You

None of Your great friends aware.

To be Your loving servant,

To serve You.

Now

That dream has died.

I am alone

Condemned for ever

To be alone

Or, not for ever?

Is the promise there

Of an end?

The long road to end at last?

And then?

Dark nothingness.

Sweet peace

To sink into that dark.

***

Justice

Do not imagine I complain.

How could I?

All Your ways are just.

If I have had false dreams

Of Happiness,

Of finding joy at last

Then that was my stupidity,

Full of wrong desires, longings.

Foolishness.

If now that folly

Is broken on the wheel

I will not cry out

Against the hammer strokes

That break its bones.

***

Joy

In all the years.

More now than the three score and ten

Allotted us,

 Once I had seven days of joy.

Oh, days here and there of pleasure, hours;

But those seven days were perfect

 Alone with You.

Invisible beside me.

As I walked in the Alpine valleys

Breathing the wine sharp air.

Day after day of joy.

Then in a dream

I found that joy again.

Walking along a mountain path

 To find You,

And saw You coming.

Swiftly, lightly.

Dearest, most perfect friend.

But was it the same “You”

Who stayed beside me

During those seven days?

There have been so many changes

 In Your love.

And now that love has been withdrawn again.

Yet never was a dream more real

Than that of meeting someone

On that path.

Never a joy more sweet.

And if it should never come again

Why then.

It will be like those seven

Perfect days.

There was no need for them

 To be repeated.

They live in me for ever

As my heart lives.

And now that dream

 Lives in me.

All I need is to remember it.

***

I hold out my arms to You

But they remain empty.

I strain my eyes to see You

But You remain invisible.

My tears run down my cheeks

But You do not dry them.

Where are You, my heart’s desire?

Where are You hiding?

I cry out in the night with longing.

I search for You in the day.

I see the print of your feet

On the grass.

The daisies have seen You as You pass by.

A robin lifts its small head

To tell me of You.

How can I find You?

Are you hiding among those shadows?

Do I hear your voice behind me?

Out of the corner of my eye

Do I see You?

The swift trace of Your gliding -

Finger to lips that the birds shall not tell me.

Your scent lingers, more delicate than the flowers.

Your tunic brushes a rose bush,

A thread of whiteness is caught on the thorns.

So close You are hiding,

I hear Your breathing.

Are You laughing – the joy of hiding?

Teasing my love for You?

Once I declared I would not pursue You -

Would not search for You!

But I am pursuing, I am searching.

Have pity on my love for You.

Let me find You, hold You.

***

The Servant

I will be Your servant.

My dear one, my darling.

I will kneel beside You,

All through the night.

I will keep the dark from You.

I will be Your light.

Hold the candle for You.

Keep the ghosts away.

Keep You safe my loved one

Until the break of day.

I will watch You sleeping.

I will touch Your hand.

Gentle fingers curved in sleep

Dream-filled with flowers.

I will touch Your slender feet.

Delicate as roses,

Brush my lips against them.

 Warm them with my tears.

Tears of joy to be Your servant,

To be allowed kneel near You.

I will watch Your lips open

Dream-filled with kisses.

I will watch Your breast lifting.

Dream-filled with passion.

Oh my Love! Oh my Love

Shall I lie beside You?

Draw the covers from Your bed.

See Your loveliness at last?

Hold You in my arms, my love,

Warm You with my body?

May a servant dare so much?

Secret in the darkness

Put out the candle flame.

Lie lovingly beside You?

Hush my sweet one.

Hush my love.

Let my hands caress You,

Let me kiss Your lovely mouth.

Kiss Your closed eyes.

Let me touch Your secret place.

Wake Your love with kisses

Velvet softness of Your flesh.

Love’s own secret entry.

Dearest one, lovely one.

Let me be one with You.

Let me enter in Your heart

enter Your beauty -

Oh my love, oh my love!

I shall die of passion;

Passion spent, reborn again

More lovingly than ever

Let me stay in, stay in You,

Remain with You for ever.

***

Mara’s Song to her Beloved

My love, my life, the light by which I see,

I lie in the dust before Your house, weeping in despair.

Will You not open the door to me?

Open Your window to look out on me in pity?

My rags are foul with my sins.

How can I hope You will look at me?

The rags cling to me like torn skin.

The stench of them infects the air.

How can I be cleansed? Have compassion on me, mercy.

Oh my soul! The window is opening! Is it You?

Are You looking down on me

As I lie before Your house?

I dare not raise my head from the dust.

It is where I belong.

Are You recoiling from me in horror?

My heart tells me. She is coming!

The door will open!

I hear the sound of the latch.

She is near. She is beside me!

What can I hope for? I see

Her feet stepping closer,

I see their beauty, more beautiful than ivory.

My heart is dying, of fear, of love,

The passion of my longing.

Dare I speak to Her? Plead with Her

To make me clean?

How can it be done?

Can my rags be burned away, all my sins?

Oh scourge me, let the agony of my vile flesh

Begin to cleanse my soul.

She is carrying Her scourge!

My soul faints in terror.

And yet I long for the pain

As lovers long for their ecstasies.

I hear the hissing of the lash

And my flesh shrinks,

I tremble, bury my head in

my arms, clench my teeth against

the scream of pain.

And it comes like fire across my shoulders.

It burns my loins, all my body

is on fire with pain.

How can I endure it?

The lash seeks out

My secret places, my tenderest flesh.

I am dying, dying!

Oh my soul, my Beloved,

Mistress of my being.

Have mercy. Hold back Your hand.

If only for a moment’s ease from new agonies.

But no! No ease, no ceasing, strike again, I beg of You,

Grant me still greater agony, deeper pain.

Let the pain reach my soul.

My flesh dies, the blood runs crimson in the dust.

How clean it is! Clear red, bright scarlet.

Is it my one gift to You, Beloved?

Is it acceptable? Take more,

Take all to the last drop.

And let my soul be washed in it.

As I lie dying, an ecstasy begins beyond all joys.

Strike again, again! Is there

a tom rag still left,

A finger’s breadth of my vile skin?

My body dies, breath leaves it,

 The heart no longer beats.

And out of it what is it that lifts itself? Is it possible?

This cannot be my soul!

And yet – You take it in Your arms,

I feel Your lips on mine.

I feel my soul pressed against Your heart.

All that vileness on the path before Your house

has vanished. It never was.

The door is open and You lead

 me in with gentle welcoming.

My soul trembles with longing

 as we climb the stairs.

My Love, Beloved, Burning Bright,

You are saying to me “You have come home.”

***

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

 In the forest of the night.

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame they fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art.

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat.

What dread hand? And what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? What dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears

And water’d heaven with their tears.

 Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

 In the forests of the night.

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

***

William Blake

Here let me live

And be Your love

And I will give my soul to You

To make soft slippers for Your feet

I will weave a cloak for You

Out of love and dear delight

My heart shall light a fire for you

Warm in winter, burning bright.

 My love shall build a house for You

 Safe and strong against the wind.

My soul shall be Your garden.

Where You may plant Your flowers

All the simplest smallest flowers -

Wild violet and primrose.

Harebell and daisies.

My soul will kiss Your hands and feet

My heart will burn for You.

If You will let me live in You.

If You will let me be Your love.

Let me serve You,

Hold You, guard You,

Lie with You in tenderness.

I will be Your sword and shield

I will be Your Bride.

I will be Your victim.

I will be Your Grail.

Thou art my life, my love, my heart

The very eyes of me.

And has command of every part

To live and die for thee.

How shall I tell thee of my love?

No lover ever loved as I love you.

No poet ever sang his love as 1 would sing for you.

For their love faded with the days and years,

but mine grows stronger, hour by hour

until it holds you fast to me,

And me to you great heart, and we are one.

***

All my life I have been living for this day.

And yet tomorrow I will say

 that only now, this hour and moment

Have I discovered love, and yesterday

 I scarcely knew its shadow.

And all I thought was love was shadow play.

***

How may I love You?

Tenderly softly.

Holding Me close to you.

Guarding Me always.

How shall You love me?

Impossible question!

How could You love me,

Filth from the dung heap!

Softly and tenderly Holding you close to Me!

Will there be pain in it?

Pain from the holding?

Only the first time, death turned to wonder.

I will bring them to You

My darling. My Lady,

They will be my dowry

 Treasures of sorrow

Sorrows turned to joy for ever

All the tears

Like children weeping.

Pain and hatred, cruel anger Fading, fading.

Like children sleeping.

***

The Burning Bright

I open the door of my house.

Enter in, my mistress, my lady.

Take possession of all that is mine.

It is now Your house,

I am your servant.

For a long time you kept a distance from me.

 I obeyed You at a distance.

Now You are here, before my eyes.

 What can I do to please You?

No! Say rather, how may I not disgust you?

My presence in Your house Must offend You.

Let me go far away.

Or else – is this possible?

Become invisible to You,

Serve You without Your need to govern me.

 Let me be as the glove for Your hand.

The sandal for your foot.

Let me be the cloak around your shoulders.

Let me be the bed you lie on.

Let me be nothing.

And yet, let me be all things that you need.

***

Dear one

Gentle one

Loveliest of ladies.

Waiting to be loved

And won.

How may I win you?

 Will my care be enough

Guarding you Protecting?

No and no and no and no!

Caring is not enough.

Nor guarding Nor protecting.

Take Me in your arms

Tonight.

Surround me with your loving

 Kiss my breasts

Above my heart.

Softly, tender.

Take me with the power of love

 Savage as thunder.

Kiss my feet

And hands

And mouth

Thirst for me.

Hunger.

Touch, caress

My velvet place

Make me cry out

 In wonder.

Open my secret lips

 Enter me gently.

Golden staff

Amber and ivory.

Fountain of my desire

Quenching my thirst for you.

Life giving

 Love giving

 Hold me close

 Closer my darling.

Quiet now

Lying

Softly

 Tenderly

Your arms about me.

***

Oh my love, my love

 You ask me do I love you?

How shall I answer you?

With words? To say, “I love you?”

How cheap words are!

I have a dictionary of words.

Of phrases, poetry.

I love you with my soul.

The passion of my heart? I love you with the light

Of seven stars? Why, no more than seven?

All the stars!

The galaxies of Heaven?

And what can such words tell?

They are no more than breath.

I love you in my doings.

Day by day.

Do these not show you love?

If they do not.

Then all the words that all the poets wrote

Would tell you nothing.

***

My love, My lady

Splendour of Splendours.

Soul of Brightness.

Take me, destroy me.

Burn all that is vile in me.

Out of my ashes

A phoenix rising.

Out of the embers.

Wings outspread

Image of love for you.

***

Mistress of the Animals

You are the wild flowers in a field.

You are the wild Woodbine and Our Lady’s Veil

That dress the hedges for your bridal day.

You are the soft wind that stirs the leaves to music.

You are in the stream

That comes from the mountains

To give sweet water.

You are the gentleness that eases death

For all the creatures.

As their eyes close

They find you there.

You are the mountain-side and the meadow.

You are the forest and its secret places.

The trees sing to you and you answer.

Deep in the forest a horn is sounding.

The sound of longing, of far-away.

The sound of Fairy Land.

The creatures whisper to one another

She is coming. She is coming

The lady, the Mistress of us all

Foxes and moles, and the tiny creatures.

Field mice and all their company

Listening, trembling with love for you.

The birds grow quiet.

The owls waken Opening their great golden eyes.

“She is coming! She is coming!”

You ride on your chariot of wonder.

Tall and slender, beautiful beyond all telling.

Your tigresses draw your chariot

Harnessed with golden chains

As you go by there is only silence,

Adoring you.

But the hearts of the little creatures

Sing a love song for you.

Never leave us, never.

You are our mother.

You are all we have.

You lift your golden hunting horn and the forest trembles.

For life means death

For every creature

And the horn’s music tells of dying.

Of eternal rest.

Of gathering all creatures To the All.

Wonder of wonders! Who could be your companions?

 Only the tigresses

Who draw your chariot.

Who guard your days

Who watch over your sleeping.

Their rough tongues

Give you pleasure

And their great bodies warm you.

How did you choose them

Make them your servants?

How did you trust them? Because they obey you?

Because they adore you?

They have given you their tiger hearts;

Their fearful symmetry

Until they live only as you desire.

Most lovely maiden,

Mistress of Innocence,

Of nature, of life and death.

Our lady of the Forest, of all its creatures.

Mistress of the Animals.

***

I am dressed by the morning, by the dawn.

I am clothed by the night.

The moon gives me my beauty.

My eyes are twin stars.

I am beautiful for my Beloved,

My Beloved’s servants have prepared me

They bring me to his bedchamber

They open the curtains of his bed

His body is ivory and gold

His teeth are pearls

His hair is perfumed by wild hyacinths.

How can I dare to approach him?

All my beauty falls from me.

I am naked and ashamed.

I pray to be destroyed before his eyes open.

Before he sees my unworthiness.

You have betrayed me

You his maidens.

The mirror you held up to my eyes

Betrayed me.

I am vile. Let me escape

Into the darkness.

His eyes have opened to condemn me.

I pray that he will scourge me from his sight.

I have no beauty to offer him.

Then let me offer him my pain

My agony.

Let me lie at Your feet my Lord.

Let me be a sacrifice.

Take this knife to cut out my heart.

To blind my eyes.

To sever the sinews of my body.

Let my blood run into the earth

To fertilise it.

Give my body to become bread for the hungry.

Let my death be of use to You.

As my life could not be.

Grind up my bones to dust.

To scatter on the wind.

Let even the dust of my bones feel pain.

Let me cease to exist.

To offend You by my existence.

Here is the knife my Beloved.

Here is my breast.

Drive the blade deep, deeper.

Twist it in the wound.

It is ecstasy to give my life’s blood to You.

My heart lies in your hands.

Still beating.

I die gazing into Your eyes.

***

All the lost ones

Come to me.

Shelter beside me.

Covered by my wings.

Wings given me

By My Beloved

To shelter you.

Weep my dear ones.

Weep your tears

That will wash away

Your evil, your anger.

All your bitterness.

God’s love surrounds you,

Keeps you from that darkness

Beyond the Gate.

Kneel beside me

Beneath my wings.

***

Soul of my soul, my Beloved,

What better way could I spend eternity than offering Your mercy?

 I who have more need of it than any?

Come my dear ones, my lost ones,

I will dry your tears, bathe your wounds.

I who have wept, I who have been wounded.

May I be of use to You, to Your children? Is that a wrong desire Beloved?

No. It will be the greatest of all the gifts you have given Me.

***

Oh my sorrow

Come to me,

You who hate me

Injure me, strike at me

Here is my heart

I am your son to injure

I am your mother who loves you

 Child of sorrow

Such bitter weeping

Your tears burn you

Your own hatred poisons you

 You scourge your own sad flesh

With your misery.

Lay your head against my heart. I am Mara.

 I am the bitterness of sorrow.

I am the sweetness of Mercy .

I am God’s love for you.

Dearest of lost ones.

I who am bitterness,

I who am sadness,

I know you,

I know your twisted soul.

Lie in my arms.

Let me cradle you.

Quiet your weeping.

I who am Love know none of it.

Offer me your hatred

And I will transform it into love.

We will watch over it together

As the hidden seed grows.

Becomes beauty, a flower of love.

Here are my tears

To moisten the hard soil.

Here is the blood from my wounds

To give the flower life.

To open the crimson bud to the sunlight.

Lie quietly in my arms My tragic child.

Sleep. Dream of God’s Mercy.

***

There is no dictionary of Love, no language. Only three words.

I love You.

But what does “Love” mean?

A movement of the heart?

A leap of startlement When suddenly I see You?

Oh there! There she is!

A longing to be with You?

Surely love is more than this?

To offer You my heart?

My being, all I am.

Yet even here, is there not “self’

“My” heart, “My” being All “I” am?

If I could give You all.

Yet You not know the giver?

If by my despair You might have hope -

My loss be all Your gain.

If you were evil – God forbid the thought! -

My love would make you well.

Fill your heart – dearest of hearts -

With grace.

But how I long to look into Your eyes.

And see Your love. I am all selfishness for love.

I have no grace to offer you.

Only a passionate longing for Your Grace.

In Hell or Heaven, let me be with You.

***

How shall I love Thee?

Let me count the ways!

Passion of my soul, my heart.

How shall I answer Thee,

In the nights, the days

Of weariness. You are

So far from me.

Hold me against your

Breast, the beating

Of your heart.

I feel your breath against my cheek, my mouth.

Sweet scent of flowers

I tremble in Your arms.

My love, My love -

All that I am is Yours,

My life, my hopes, my soul.

Brightness of Brightness.

The Burning Bright.

Light in my darkness.

Light beyond Light.

I lie at Your dear feet.

But You raise me up;

I long to serve You

But You surround me with silk and gold.

Oh my darling, let me serve You.

Let me be your mother,

Your servant. Your guardian in the night.

Sleep safe my darling

I will watch over You,

My sword protect You.

Let my soul be the shoes for Your feet

The bed for Your sleeping.

Look! Evil is prowling.

Shadows are creeping,

But have no fears my Beloved

 I am here, I will drive them away.

Let me caress You,

Delight of my heart.

Let me smooth Your hair

With its scent of violets.

Let me kiss Your mouth

 With its taste of sweetness.

Let me lie with You

My Beloved,

My love, my darling.

***

How do I love Thee,

Let me count the ways!

Each drop of my blood loves Thee.

In the nights and days of separation from Thee -

How long? How long must it be?

But Thy Will, not mine.

Heart of my being.

I feel You near me.

Softly breathing.

Is it Your footstep In the darkness?

The silk of Your gown whispering?

I must hold still, not move.

Not desire Your nearness.

My days are nothingness

My nights are empty.

Unless You fill them.

But I hear Your voice singing.

Far away.

Purest of crystal.

Soaring, lifting,

“Come to Me, come to Me dear one!”

Is it that You are singing?

My own voice cries out to You

“I am here, here in the darkness,

Running towards You!”

My feet are tom by the stones.

My flesh by the thorns.

I am lost in the forest of evil.

But I force my way through the trees.

With their clinging branches.

“I am coming, my darling.

My fierce Beloved.”

You are my God, and my mother.

My child and my lover,

I am bound to You, as the flesh is bound to the bone.

Only Your anger could separate us.

Love from Beloved.

Let me never offend You,

Let me die ten thousand times in agony

Before I cause You the least of pains.

Here are the ways I love You.

***

Love

Tenderly, gently, dearly I love You.

 Passion to hold You, keep You from sorrow.

Cradle You softly, watch over Your sleeping.

Fold my wings round You,

My nestling, my keeping.

Shelter Your beauty, more lovely than moonlight.

Step You so lightly. Your footfall will wake me.

 Here I am kneeling, swift from my sleeping.

All that I am is Yours and Yours only.

If my love can be pleasing

Then never be lonely.

My dear one, my darling, the heart of my being.

***

Loving

How may I love You?

Tell me all the ways.

My Heart? My soul?

All my life is Yours.

I have no gift to give You

That is mine.

Even my breath.

My heartbeat

Are Your gifts to me.

Is there some new thing

That is all mine

To offer You?

What could it be?

Only my bending to Your Will.

My swift obedience

To Your least desire.

That alone. Valueless. Nothing.

Yet all I have to give.

Here, let me kneel

And lay it at your feet.

***

I will give you brooches

And toys for your delight.

A hundred thousand kisses.

All through the night!

A thousand thoughts of tenderness.

Light of my light.

My dearest one, my darling

Breath of my life.

***

You

Soul of my soul

 How can I love You?

I have no love to offer You only my heart.

I will take a sharp dagger

And pierce your heart.

Breath of my breathing

The blood pours from the wound.

Take it my dear one

Drink of it deeply.

I will take a sharp sword

And carve the flesh from your bones.

Here are the fragments

Darling one, dear one.

Eat my poor body.

Devour me, consume me.

I will take my great hammer.

My terrible anvil,

I will pound your bones into powder.

Fling them away.

Dearest assassin,

Let the winds take them.

Here is my soul.

All that remains of me.

I will take it and weave it,

Into white clothing.

I will wear it always

Against my heart.

***

Passion of my soul, my heart

 My lovely one, my darling.

Let me whisper that I love.

Whisper to the wind, the sky,

Whisper my secret.

Tell the flowers as they grow

 Tell the sweet grasses.

Tell the littlest creatures

Hiding in the hedges

How I love, how I love

How I love my darling.

I have grown old

 And yet my heart seems young.

My feet stumble.

Fail to carry me.

Thin blood runs cold

And yet the passion of my love is young.

***