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The Great Fires

 Love is apart from all things.
Desire and excitement are nothing beside it.
It is not the body that finds love.
What leads us there is the body.
What is not love provokes it.
What is not love quenches it.
Love lays hold of everything we know.
The passions which are called love also change everything to a newness at first.
Passion is clearly the path but does not bring us to love.
It opens the castle of our spirit so that we might find the love which is a mystery hidden there.
Love is one of many great fires.
Passion is a fire made of many woods, each of which gives off its special odor so we can know the many kinds that are not love.
Passion is the paper and twigs that kindle the flames but cannot sustain them.
Desire perishes because it tries to be love.
Love is eaten away by appetite.
Love does not last, but it is different from the passions that do not last.
Love lasts by not lasting.
Isaiah said each man walks in his own fire for his sins.
Love allows us to walk in the sweet music of our particular heart.

Poem by Jack Gilbert
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