Ahhhhhhh, Valentines! Well, it has definitely been much better for me the last couple of years. Last year with my girlfriend. And this year with the girlfriend from last year who is now my fiance. Sweet!
Two of my favorite poets can at times tend to be a little angst ridden, but as far as I’m concerned, no one says it better than Rainer Maria Rilke and Kahlil Gibran, especially on the issue of a couple’s space in their togetherness.
Begin by reading my friend Cameron’s post over at Summa Aesthetica. He has some interesting thoughts on chaos and order, in love…and there are some interesting comments on his post.
Now for Rilke and Gibran
“On Love & Other Difficulties…”
Rilke on Marriage…
“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, 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 always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
May 14, 1904, Rome
“To love is good, too: love being difficult.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it.
With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.
But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is–solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.
Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate–?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself for another’s sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.”
Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet”
“THEN Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”