What Have I Done, If I Haven’t Loved


What have I done, if I haven’t loved?
Have I paced off these grounds alone?
Have I protected myself from harm
and believed I was saved by what I own?

Have I watched others with suspicion
thinking only of what I might gain?
Have I really believed my thrift
has defended me against my pain?

Have I passed my days and nights
cloistered behind my fear?
Have I delayed to avoid the hurt
of watching the dying disappear?

Have I sat to watch nature mock my care?
The ground that will cover me isn’t afraid,
and the owl isn’t filled with regret
at the passing of the evening shade.

Nor is the earth startled by its motion.
And the seasons, do they refuse their turn?
Is winter afraid to freeze, or spring
afraid to bud? Do the stars refuse to burn?

O what have I done, if I haven’t loved?
Nothing. Nothing multiplied by nothing.
O let what I have done be left behind,
and love be the work it brings.

Let danger find me, and fear be turned away.
Let affirmation be the song I sing.
Let pain conduct me, and death come.
Let love be the work it brings.