The Inner Garment of Love

A soul which is not clothed
with the inner garment of Love
should be ashamed of its existence.

Be drunk with Love,
for Love is all that exists.
Where is intimacy found
if not in the give and take of Love.

If they ask what Love is,
say: the sacrifice of will.
If you have not left your will behind,
you have no will at all.

The lover is a king of kings
with both worlds beneath him;
and a king does not regard
what lies at his feet.

Only Love and the lover
can resurrect beyond time.
Give your heart to this;
the rest is second-hand.

How long will you embrace
a lifeless beloved?
Embrace that entity
to which nothing can cling.

What sprouts up every spring
will wither by autumn,
but the rose garden of Love
is always green.

Both the rose and the thorn
appear together in spring,
and the wine of the grape
is not without its headaches.

Don’t be an impatient
bystander on this path –
by God there’s no death
worse than expectation.

Set your heart on hard cash
if you are not counterfeit,
and listen to this advice
if you are not a slave:

Don’t falter on the horse
of the body; go more lightly on foot.
God gives wings to those
who are not content to ride an ass.

Let go of your worries
and be completely clear-hearted,
like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.

When it is empty of forms,
all forms are contained in it.
No face would be ashamed
to be so clear.

If you want a clear mirror,
behold yourself
and see the shameless truth
which the mirror reflects.

If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?

Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not.

— Version by Kabir Helminski
“Love is a Stranger”
Threshold Books, 1993

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