This is my favorite passage from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran. The book was first published in 1923 and considered a classic of our time. I was first introduced to Kahlil Gibran in 1973 by my dear and precious friend E.C. Farley. (Lauren, I once wrote this poem as part of a letter to you from Alaska in 1998. I hope your silence means that you understood.)
Then Almitra spoke again and said. And
what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you
shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white
wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, 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
Love one another, but make not a bond
Let it, rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from
Give one another of your bread but eat
not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each 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
For only the hand of Life can contain
And stand together yet not too near
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow
not in each other's shadow.
by Kahlil Gibran