O my Spirit! Why do you so pine for the embrace
of lovers, and follow their happy walk with greedy
eye? It seems almost as if water for parched lips,
this love that is ubiquitous, but which is never here.
Be careful what prayer you speak in silence of heart,
for what seems wonderful may yet be ice over lake,
and when one steps forth with unsure step, in unhappy
instant one falls through, and is dragged beneath the sheet.
Or, consider it yet a flame! Yea, for flame was blessed
by God to multiply undiminished, like all that lives,
and when it flickers it is a spark of star alive before
your very eyes. But spill it from its waxen cradle.
Then, it shall draw power from everything touching it,
paper and wood, house of stone and glass of windows:
it will not stop, unquenched in its passion, until it
consumes everything, and leaves the home an ashen heap.
Yet what will you do? Always live in the winter, when
the warm breath of spring flies about? Though the fire
is a force of its own rule, for this the freezing man should
banish it from life, and with it dispatch perhaps the soul?
No. For fire only feeds on what if given it, and smolders
when there is no charity. It destroys only when no watch
stands over it, punishing neglect with great consequence.
Love, thus, is full-time duty and employ, nothing less.
Are you, Spirit, yet so selfish and imperfect, ready to mix
with another person? To keep vigil over breath of lover,
to prepare for vigil over son and daughter? Ask this before
you beg the cross they bear, with such agony and ecstasy.