A mention of Khalil Gibran (or Kahlil Gibran), an artist, poet, writer and philosopher, conjures up a sense of reverence and awe. I stumbled upon his work years ago while looking for poems on children. These lines just struck a chord with me, like a guitarist playing the right note at the right time.
Here’s an excerpt ~ “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.”
His words resonate deep within and fills you with inspiration and joy. Lebanese born, educated in New York, Paris and Beirut, he was the third best-selling poet in history (Shakespeare and Lao Tzu being the first two). Gibran is well known for his book ‘The Prophet’, a book of poetic essays dealing with love, marriage, children, joy, sorrow, beauty and so on. His work, written in both Arabic and English, are full of lyrical outpourings and express his deeply mystical and romantic nature.
Let’s explore 10 passages from various poems of Gibran that have touched my heart and hope it resonates with you too.
1) On Marriage
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
2) On Nature
Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper that we may record our emptiness.
3) On Self-Knowledge
Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.
Youth is a beautiful dream, on whose brightness books shed a blinding dust. Will ever the day come when the wise link the joy of knowledge to youth’s dream?
Will ever the day come when Nature becomes the teacher of man, humanity his book and life his school? Youth’s joyous purpose cannot be fulfilled until that day comes. Too slow is our march toward spiritual elevation, because we make so little use of youth’s ardor.
5) On Love
One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.
6) On Giving
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?
7) On Self
My friend, I am not what I seem. Seeming is but a garment I wear — a care-woven garment that protects me from thy questionings and thee from my negligence. The “I” in me, my friend, dwells in the house of silence, and therein it shall remain for ever more, unperceived, unapproachable.
8) On Freedom
For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.”
Thus I became a madman.
And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.
But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief.
9) On Religion
Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.
For in revery you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.
And take with you all men:
For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.
10) On Relationships
No human relation gives one possession in another—every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.