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Jack Gilbert - 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.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 39514 times | Comments and analysis of The Great Fires by Jack Gilbert Comments (73)

The Great Fires - Comments and Information

Poet: Jack Gilbert
Poem: The Great Fires
Volume: The Great Fires
Year: Published/Written in 1994
Poem of the Day: Apr 28 2009

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