Conversation at Nazareth

What love is? Well, that's a hard thing to say.To be a proper craftsman, that is love.There was a carpenter once, down the village there,Who loved his work—he was right quick at it;I heard his plane and hammer go all day.At evening he'd come out before the door,And sit awhile with us and talk as freeAs any of us here. He used to talkOf love, often as not. He held that loveWas something different from the common thought.He used to say love meant perfection: allOne did, or said, or made, it should be perfect.That's a hard saying.

What became of him?He left here after a while, and the shopStood empty. Then I was away myselfFor ten years, but I heard them say he wentAs far as Jerusalem. I often think of him.Perfection! That's a big word—only GodIs perfect as I see it. This man saidWe could be perfect too; that is, if we loved,Tried hard enough, saw God, morning, noon, night.But loving's hard too. Can you loveA mean man or a thief? A liar's worse.Can you love those? I used to ask him that.He'd look at me with those great eyes of hisAnd say: "Love? Yes, love God, the rest will come.There'll come a time when they will thieve no more,Will lie no more; if you keep loving on,They'll come, they'll come." And when he said those words,His eyes would burn, and he'd get up and closeThe door, not in a hurry, and would stride,Quiet in all his movements, down the street—I think he used to meet his mother there.

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