What Love Is
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Love is the centre and circumference;
The cause and aim of all things — 'tis the key
To joy and sorrow, and the recompense
For all the ills that have been, or may be.
Love is as bitter as the dregs of sin,
As sweet as clover-honey in its cell;
Love is the password whereby souls get in
To Heaven — the gate that leads, sometimes, to Hell.
Love is the crown that glorifies; the curse
That brands and burdens; it is life and death;
It is the great law of the universe;
And nothing can exist without its breath.
Love is the impulse which directs the world,
And all things know it and obey its power.
Man, in the maelstrom of his passions whirled;
The bee that takes the pollen to the flower;
The earth, uplifting her bare, pulsing breast
To fervent kisses of the amorous sun; —
Each but obeys creative Love's behest,
Which everywhere instinctively is done.
Love is the only thing that pays for birth,
Or makes death welcome. Oh, dear God above,
This beautiful but sad, perplexing earth,
Pity the hearts that know — or know not — Love!
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