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June 2, 2013

A Poem About “Love”

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/a_poem_about_love/

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I have read this wondrous poem very infrequently at weddings over the years. I offer it only to couples who I sense have attained a special depth of camaraderie uncommon even for those who feel great love for each other.

The poem reflects a depth of generosity, humility, gratitude, kindness, tenderheartedness, acceptance, and understanding of oneself in relationship to the "Other" that could well be the standard towards which every individual aspires with his/her beloved. Though some young couples attain such a relationship by the time they come to the chupah, it often takes many years to realize and understand the poet’s deeper sentiments.

This is among my most favorite wedding poems. I have cited its origins as written in Wikipedia below. 

I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me that you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand into my heaped-up heart
And passing over all the foolish, weak things
That you can't help dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern but a Temple,
Out of the works of my every day
Not a reproach but a song.

I love you
Because you have done more than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.

You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

From Wikipedia on the origins of this poem and the “poet” named “Roy Croft.”

"This poem, which is commonly used in wedding speeches and readings and is quoted frequently (attributed to Roy Croft), is nearly identical in meaning to a German-language poem titled Ich liebe Dich ("I Love You") and composed by Austrian poet Erich Fried; the main difference is that Croft's version stops at the third-from-last line of Fried's poem, with the effect that Fried's poem contains two final lines for which Croft's version has no equivalent. Croft's version appears without further attribution in The Family Book of Best Loved Poems, edited by David L. George and published in 1952 by Doubleday & Company, Inc., then of Garden City, New York.

The poem "Love" was included in a 1936 anthology entitled "Best Loved Poems of American People" edited by a Hazel Felleman, and published by Doubleday. This would seem to imply that regardless of the origins of Mr. Croft, that Erich Fried in fact appropriated the poem himself and translated it into German, as he would have been only 15 in 1936. Seeing as the book was a compilation of best loved American poems, it is hard to see how he could be the author."

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