Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday's Literary Corner: The Prophet- Kahlil Gibran

When I was married, a friend of mine gave me a book, which I had never heard of and thought rather strange- until I sat down a bit later and began to read it. Strange, mainly because this is the picture of him on the cover.........................
Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese born in 1883 poet who came to the United States to live and write. He died in 1931.
He wrote poetry and was an artist and sculpture.... and is quite famous, little did I know back in 1989.
His tiny book, The Prophet, published in 1923 has many great passages and some of my all time favorite quotes. It is illustrated with his mystical,mostly nude sketches as well.
Deep, but meaningful and powerful and written in the spirit of another of my favorite poets, William Blake, his simple lines will make you stop and think- and marvel at his way with the written language that will touch your spirit and soul.
Enjoy. If you did not know of Kahlil, I am pleased to introduce you.

On revenge: An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.

On the earth: And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

On love: But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls

On learning:
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers

I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance, and affection to be art.

On teaching: The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.
And two of my favorite passages from the book:
On Joy and Sorrow...
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow,"
and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

On Children ...
Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

There are wonderful quotes I could pull from each and every passage in the book. Gibran speaks on clothing, good and evil, houses, talking and even eating and drinking.Timeless advice that can transcend generations. I pull out the book from time to time and reread it-it makes me ponder the important things in life and see them from a unique perspective. Quite different from the Mary Kay Andrews and the Sweet Potato Queens that rank at the top my all-time favorite book list, but equally as loved.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Beautiful! I am glad you posted on this, I am going to add yet another book from your suggestions to my Barnes and Noble List.