Because I Love

Written for the Memorial for Professor Suheil Bushrui (1929-20015) at The House of Lords January 2016.

Performed by Rosanna Lea (voice), Henry Bentley (violin) & Richard Leigh (Kantele).
Composer – Richard Leigh

Words: Amo Ergo Sum Kathleen Raine

Because I love
The sun pours out its rays of living gold
Pours out its gold and silver on the sea.
Because I love
The earth upon her astral spindle winds
Her ecstasy-producing dance.
Because I love
Clouds travel on the winds through wide skies,
Skies wide and beautiful, blue and deep.
Because I love
Wind blows white sails,
The wind blows over flowers, the sweet wind blows.
Because I love
The ferns grown green, and green the grass, and green
The transparent sunlit trees.
Because I love
Larks rise up from the grass
And all the leaves are full of singing birds.
Because I love
The summer air quivers with a thousand wings,
Myriads of jewelled eyes burn in the light
Because I love
The iridescent shells upon the sand
Take forms as fine and intricate as thought
Because I love
There is an invisible way across the sky,
Birds travel by that way, the sun and moon
And all the stars travel that path by night
Because I love
There is a river flowing all night long.
Because I love
All night the river flows into my sleep.
Ten thousand living things are sleeping in my arms,
And sleeping wake, and flowing are at rest.

Professor Suheil Bushrui—the world’s foremost authority on the works of Lebanese poet, artist and writer Kahlil Gibran and an internationally cherished scholar, author, poet, critic, translator and advocate for peace—passed away on Sept. 2 at age 85.

Since 2006, Professor Bushrui served as the University of Maryland’s George and Lisa Zakhem Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace. In that role, he published and spoke widely, taught groundbreaking courses on the multidisciplinary pursuit of peace and on Arab literature, and participated in many international organizations dedicated to the promulgation of peace and conflict resolution. He was named as a Research Professor Emeritus in 2009.

Professor Bushrui also is revered for his seminal studies in English of the works of W.B. Yeats and for his translations of Yeats’ poetry into Arabic.

From 1993 to 2006, Professor Bushrui held UMD’s Bahá’í Chair for World Peace, emphasizing qualitative approaches to the study of peace and asserting that all legitimate forms of human expression—including literature, poetry, music and art—have a role to play in producing understandings that lead to peace.