Trilogy of Love

Song Cycle by Thomas Schubert (b. 1961)

Word count: 869

German (Deutsch) translation: Trilogie der Liebe ( Bertram Kottmann)

1. Love [sung text checked 1 time]

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, 
and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him, 
though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams 
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he ascends to your height 
and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them 
in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you 
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only 
love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness 
and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, 
but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself 
and takes naught but from itself. 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; 
for love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," 
but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, 
for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, 
let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook 
that sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart 
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer 
for the beloved in your heart 
and a song of praise upon your lips.

Love gives naught but itself 
and takes naught but from itself. 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, 
for love is sufficient unto love.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Liebe", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Amore", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Maria Nimmerfall

2. Marriage [sung text checked 1 time]

You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore. 
You shall be together when 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. 

Love gives naught but itself 
and takes naught but from itself. 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, 
for love is sufficient unto love.

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. 

Love gives naught but itself 
and takes naught but from itself. 
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, 
for love is sufficient unto love.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Ehe", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Matrimonio", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Maria Nimmerfall

3. Children [sung text checked 1 time]

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, 
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children 
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, 
for love is sufficient unto love.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Kinder", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Figli", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Maria Nimmerfall