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by Kahlil Gibran | |

Time XXI

 And an astronomer said, "Master, what of Time?" 

And he answered: 

You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.
Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness, And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless? And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not form love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds? And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless? But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons, And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Vision X

 There in the middle of the field, by the side of a crystalline stream, I saw a bird-cage whose rods and hinges were fashioned by an expert's hands.
In one corner lay a dead bird, and in another were two basins -- one empty of water and the other of seeds.
I stood there reverently, as if the lifeless bird and the murmur of the water were worthy of deep silence and respect -- something worth of examination and meditation by the heard and conscience.
As I engrossed myself in view and thought, I found that the poor creature had died of thirst beside a stream of water, and of hunger in the midst of a rich field, cradle of life; like a rich man locked inside his iron safe, perishing from hunger amid heaps of gold.
Before my eyes I saw the cage turned suddenly into a human skeleton, and the dead bird into a man's heart which was bleeding from a deep wound that looked like the lips of a sorrowing woman.
A voice came from that wound saying, "I am the human heart, prisoner of substance and victim of earthly laws.
"In God's field of Beauty, at the edge of the stream of life, I was imprisoned in the cage of laws made by man.
"In the center of beautiful Creation I died neglected because I was kept from enjoying the freedom of God's bounty.
"Everything of beauty that awakens my love and desire is a disgrace, according to man's conceptions; everything of goodness that I crave is but naught, according to his judgment.
"I am the lost human heart, imprisoned in the foul dungeon of man's dictates, tied with chains of earthly authority, dead and forgotten by laughing humanity whose tongue is tied and whose eyes are empty of visible tears.
" All these words I heard, and I saw them emerging with a stream of ever thinning blood from that wounded heart.
More was said, but my misted eyes and crying should prevented further sight or hearing.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Teaching XVIII

 Then said a teacher, "Speak to us of Teaching.
" And he said: No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.


More great poems below...

by Kahlil Gibran | |

The Creation I

 The God separated a spirit from Himself and fashioned it into Beauty.
He showered upon her all the blessings of gracefulness and kindness.
He gave her the cup of happiness and said, "Drink not from this cup unless you forget the past and the future, for happiness is naught but the moment.
" And He also gave her a cup of sorrow and said, "Drink from this cup and you will understand the meaning of the fleeting instants of the joy of life, for sorrow ever abounds.
" And the God bestowed upon her a love that would desert he forever upon her first sigh of earthly satisfaction, and a sweetness that would vanish with her first awareness of flattery.
And He gave her wisdom from heaven to lead to the all-righteous path, and placed in the depth of her heart and eye that sees the unseen, and created in he an affection and goodness toward all things.
He dressed her with raiment of hopes spun by the angels of heaven from the sinews of the rainbow.
And He cloaked her in the shadow of confusion, which is the dawn of life and light.
Then the God took consuming fire from the furnace of anger, and searing wind from the desert of ignorance, and sharp- cutting sands from the shore of selfishness, and coarse earth from under the feet of ages, and combined them all and fashioned Man.
He gave to Man a blind power that rages and drives him into a madness which extinguishes only before gratification of desire, and placed life in him which is the specter of death.
And the god laughed and cried.
He felt an overwhelming love and pity for Man, and sheltered him beneath His guidance.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

The House of Fortune III

 My wearied heart bade me farewell and left for the House of Fortune.
As he reached that holy city which the soul had blessed and worshipped, he commenced wondering, for he could not find what he had always imagined would be there.
The city was empty of power, money, and authority.
And my heart spoke to the daughter of Love saying, "Oh Love, where can I find Contentment? I heard that she had come here to join you.
" And the daughter of Love responded, "Contentment has already gone to preach her gospel in the city, where greed and corruption are paramount; we are not in need of her.
" Fortune craves not Contentment, for it is an earthly hope, and its desires are embraced by union with objects, while Contentment is naught but heartfelt.
The eternal soul is never contented; it ever seeks exaltation.
Then my heart looked upon Life of Beauty and said: "Thou art all knowledge; enlighten me as to the mystery of Woman.
" And he answered, "Oh human heart, woman is your own reflection, and whatever you are, she is; wherever you live, she lives; she is like religion if not interpreted by the ignorant, and like a moon, if not veiled with clouds, and like a breeze, if not poisoned with impurities.
" And my heart walked toward Knowledge, the daughter of Love and Beauty, and said, "Bestow upon me wisdom, that I might share it with the people.
" And she responded, "Say not wisdom, but rather fortune, for real fortune comes not from outside, but begins in the Holy of Holies of life.
Share of thyself with the people.
"


by Kahlil Gibran | |

The Palace and the Hut XXIX

 Part One


As night fell and the light glittered in the great house, the servants stood at the massive door awaiting the coming of the guests; and upon their velvet garments shown golden buttons.
The magnificent carriages drew into the palace park and the nobles entered, dressed in gorgeous raiment and decorated with jewels.
The instruments filled the air with pleasant melodies while the dignitaries danced to the soothing music.
At midnight the finest and most palatable foods were served on a beautiful table embellished with all kinds of the rarest flowers.
The feasters dined and drank abundantly, until the sequence of the wine began to play its part.
At dawn the throng dispersed boisterously, after spending a long night of intoxication and gluttony which hurried their worn bodies into their deep beds with unnatural sleep.
Part Two At eventide, a man attired in the dress of heavy work stood before the door of his small house and knocked at the door.
As it opened, he entered and greeted the occupants in a cheerful manner, and then sat between his children who were playing at the fireplace.
In a short time, his wife had the meal prepared and they sat at a wooden table consuming their food.
After eating they gathered around the oil lamp and talked of the day's events.
When the early night had lapsed, all stood silently and surrendered themselves to the King of Slumber with a song of praise and a prayer of gratitude on their lips.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

The Playground of Life XIX

 One hour devoted to the pursuit of Beauty 
And Love is worth a full century of glory 
Given by the frightened weak to the strong.
From that hour comes man's Truth; and During that century Truth sleeps between The restless arms of disturbing dreams.
In that hour the soul sees for herself The Natural Law, and for that century she Imprisons herself behind the law of man; And she is shackled with irons of oppression.
That hour was the inspiration of the Songs Of Solomon, an that century was the blind Power which destroyed the temple of Baalbek.
That hour was the birth of the Sermon on the Mount, and that century wrecked the castles of Palmyra and the Tower of Babylon.
That hour was the Hegira of Mohammed and that Century forgot Allah, Golgotha, and Sinai.
One hour devoted to mourning and lamenting the Stolen equality of the weak is nobler than a Century filled with greed and usurpation.
It is at that hour when the heart is Purified by flaming sorrow and Illuminated by the torch of Love.
And in that century, desires for Truth Are buried in the bosom of the earth.
That hour is the root which must flourish.
That hour of meditation, the hour of Prayer, and the hour of a new era of good.
And that century is a life of Nero spent On self-investment taken solely from Earthly substance.
This is life.
Portrayed on the stage for ages; Recorded earthly for centuries; Lived in strangeness for years; Sung as a hymn for days; Exalted but for an hour, but the Hour is treasured by Eternity as a jewel.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Prayer XXIII

 Then a priestess said, "Speak to us of Prayer.
" And he answered, saying: You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.
For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether? And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart.
And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing.
When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet.
Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion.
For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive.
And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted: Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard.
It is enough that you enter the temple invisible.
I cannot teach you how to pray in words.
God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.
And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains.
But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart, And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying in silence, "Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth.
It is thy desire in us that desireth.
It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days which are thine also.
We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us: Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all.
"


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Song of the Soul XXII

 In the depth of my soul there is 
A wordless song - a song that lives 
In the seed of my heart.
It refuses to melt with ink on Parchment; it engulfs my affection In a transparent cloak and flows, But not upon my lips.
How can I sigh it? I fear it may Mingle with earthly ether; To whom shall I sing it? It dwells In the house of my soul, in fear of Harsh ears.
When I look into my inner eyes I see the shadow of its shadow; When I touch my fingertips I feel its vibrations.
The deeds of my hands heed its Presence as a lake must reflect The glittering stars; my tears Reveal it, as bright drops of dew Reveal the secret of a withering rose.
It is a song composed by contemplation, And published by silence, And shunned by clamor, And folded by truth, And repeated by dreams, And understood by love, And hidden by awakening, And sung by the soul.
It is the song of love; What Cain or Esau could sing it? It is more fragrant than jasmine; What voice could enslave it? It is heartbound, as a virgin's secret; What string could quiver it? Who dares unite the roar of the sea And the singing of the nightingale? Who dares compare the shrieking tempest To the sigh of an infant? Who dares speak aloud the words Intended for the heart to speak? What human dares sing in voice The song of God?


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Reason and Passion XV

 And the priestess spoke again and said: "Speak to us of Reason and Passion.
" And he answered saying: Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements? Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.
If either your sails or our rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.
I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.
Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, "God rests in reason.
" And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, - then let your heart say in awe, "God moves in passion.
" And since you are a breath In God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Religion XXVI

 And an old priest said, "Speak to us of Religion.
" And he said: Have I spoken this day of aught else? Is not religion all deeds and all reflection, And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom? Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations? Who can spread his hours before him, saying, "This for God and this for myself; This for my soul, and this other for my body?" All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.
He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked.
The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin.
And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.
The freest song comes not through bars and wires.
And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.
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.
And if you would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Self-Knowledge XVII

 And a man said, "Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.
" And he answered, saying: Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea; And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure; And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
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.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Song of Love XXIV

 I am the lover's eyes, and the spirit's 
Wine, and the heart's nourishment.
I am a rose.
My heart opens at dawn and The virgin kisses me and places me Upon her breast.
I am the house of true fortune, and the Origin of pleasure, and the beginning Of peace and tranquility.
I am the gentle Smile upon his lips of beauty.
When youth Overtakes me he forgets his toil, and his Whole life becomes reality of sweet dreams.
I am the poet's elation, And the artist's revelation, And the musician's inspiration.
I am a sacred shrine in the heart of a Child, adored by a merciful mother.
I appear to a heart's cry; I shun a demand; My fullness pursues the heart's desire; It shuns the empty claim of the voice.
I appeared to Adam through Eve And exile was his lot; Yet I revealed myself to Solomon, and He drew wisdom from my presence.
I smiled at Helena and she destroyed Tarwada; Yet I crowned Cleopatra and peace dominated The Valley of the Nile.
I am like the ages -- building today And destroying tomorrow; I am like a god, who creates and ruins; I am sweeter than a violet's sigh; I am more violent than a raging tempest.
Gifts alone do not entice me; Parting does not discourage me; Poverty does not chase me; Jealousy does not prove my awareness; Madness does not evidence my presence.
Oh seekers, I am Truth, beseeching Truth; And your Truth in seeking and receiving And protecting me shall determine my Behavior.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Song of Man XXV

 I was here from the moment of the 
Beginning, and here I am still.
And I shall remain here until the end Of the world, for there is no Ending to my grief-stricken being.
I roamed the infinite sky, and Soared in the ideal world, and Floated through the firmament.
But Here I am, prisoner of measurement.
I heard the teachings of Confucius; I listened to Brahma's wisdom; I sat by Buddha under the Tree of Knowledge.
Yet here I am, existing with ignorance And heresy.
I was on Sinai when Jehovah approached Moses; I saw the Nazarene's miracles at the Jordan; I was in Medina when Mohammed visited.
Yet I here I am, prisoner of bewilderment.
Then I witnessed the might of Babylon; I learned of the glory of Egypt; I viewed the warring greatness of Rome.
Yet my earlier teachings showed the Weakness and sorrow of those achievements.
I conversed with the magicians of Ain Dour; I debated with the priests of Assyria; I gleaned depth from the prophets of Palestine.
Yet, I am still seeking truth.
I gathered wisdom from quiet India; I probed the antiquity of Arabia; I heard all that can be heard.
Yet, my heart is deaf and blind.
I suffered at the hands of despotic rulers; I suffered slavery under insane invaders; I suffered hunger imposed by tyranny; Yet, I still possess some inner power With which I struggle to great each day.
My mind is filled, but my heart is empty; My body is old, but my heart is an infant.
Perhaps in youth my heart will grow, but I Pray to grow old and reach the moment of My return to God.
Only then will my heart fill! I was here from the moment of the Beginning, and here I am still.
And I shall remain here until the end Of of world, for there is no Ending to my grief-stricken being.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Song of the Flower XXIII

 I am a kind word uttered and repeated 
By the voice of Nature; 
I am a star fallen from the 
Blue tent upon the green carpet.
I am the daughter of the elements With whom Winter conceived; To whom Spring gave birth; I was Reared in the lap of Summer and I Slept in the bed of Autumn.
At dawn I unite with the breeze To announce the coming of light; At eventide I join the birds In bidding the light farewell.
The plains are decorated with My beautiful colors, and the air Is scented with my fragrance.
As I embrace Slumber the eyes of Night watch over me, and as I Awaken I stare at the sun, which is The only eye of the day.
I drink dew for wine, and hearken to The voices of the birds, and dance To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.
I am the lover's gift; I am the wedding wreath; I am the memory of a moment of happiness; I am the last gift of the living to the dead; I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.
But I look up high to see only the light, And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Song of the Wave XVII

 The strong shore is my beloved 
And I am his sweetheart.
We are at last united by love, and Then the moon draws me from him.
I go to him in haste and depart Reluctantly, with many Little farewells.
I steal swiftly from behind the Blue horizon to cast the silver of My foam upon the gold of his sand, and We blend in melted brilliance.
I quench his thirst and submerge his Heart; he softens my voice and subdues My temper.
At dawn I recite the rules of love upon His ears, and he embraces me longingly.
At eventide I sing to him the song of Hope, and then print smooth hisses upon His face; I am swift and fearful, but he Is quiet, patient, and thoughtful.
His Broad bosom soothes my restlessness.
As the tide comes we caress each other, When it withdraws, I drop to his feet in Prayer.
Many times have I danced around mermaids As they rose from the depths and rested Upon my crest to watch the stars; Many times have I heard lovers complain Of their smallness, and I helped them to sigh.
Many times have I teased the great rocks And fondled them with a smile, but never Have I received laughter from them; Many times have I lifted drowning souls And carried them tenderly to my beloved Shore.
He gives them strength as he Takes mine.
Many times have I stolen gems from the Depths and presented them to my beloved Shore.
He takes them in silence, but still I give fro he welcomes me ever.
In the heaviness of night, when all Creatures seek the ghost of Slumber, I Sit up, singing at one time and sighing At another.
I am awake always.
Alas! Sleeplessness has weakened me! But I am a lover, and the truth of love Is strong.
I may be weary, but I shall never die.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Talking XX

 And then a scholar said, "Speak of Talking.
" And he answered, saying: You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts; And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words many indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.
There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.
When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear; For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered When the color is forgotten and the vessel is no more.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Buying and Selling chapter XI

 And a merchant said, "Speak to us of Buying and Selling.
" And he answered and said: To you the earth yields her fruit, and you shall not want if you but know how to fill your hands.
It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied.
Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger.
When in the market place you toilers of the sea and fields and vineyards meet the weavers and the potters and the gatherers of spices, - Invoke then the master spirit of the earth, to come into your midst and sanctify the scales and the reckoning that weighs value against value.
And suffer not the barren-handed to take part in your transactions, who would sell their words for your labour.
To such men you should say, "Come with us to the field, or go with our brothers to the sea and cast your net; For the land and the sea shall be bountiful to you even as to us.
" And if there come the singers and the dancers and the flute players, - buy of their gifts also.
For they too are gatherers of fruit and frankincense, and that which they bring, though fashioned of dreams, is raiment and food for your soul.
And before you leave the marketplace, see that no one has gone his way with empty hands.
For the master spirit of the earth shall not sleep peacefully upon the wind till the needs of the least of you are satisfied.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Clothes chapter X

 And the weaver said, "Speak to us of Clothes.
" And he answered: Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment, For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, "It is the north wind who has woven the clothes to wear.
" But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind? And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Death XXVII

 Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death.
" And he said: You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling? For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Eating and Drinking chapter VI

 Then an old man, a keeper of an inn, said, "Speak to us of Eating and Drinking.
" And he said: Would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth, and like an air plant be sustained by the light.
But since you must kill to eat, and rob the young of its mother's milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship, And let your board stand an altar on which the pure and the innocent of forest and plain are sacrificed for that which is purer and still more innocent in many.
When you kill a beast say to him in your heart, "By the same power that slays you, I to am slain; and I too shall be consumed.
For the law that delivered you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.
Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.
" And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart, "Your seeds shall live in my body, And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart, And your fragrance shall be my breath, And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.
" And in the autumn, when you gather the grapes of your vineyard for the winepress, say in you heart, "I too am a vineyard, and my fruit shall be gathered for the winepress, And like new wine I shall be kept in eternal vessels.
" And in winter, when you draw the wine, let there be in your heart a song for each cup; And let there be in the song a remembrance for the autumn days, and for the vineyard, and for the winepress.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Friendship IXX

 And a youth said, "Speak to us of Friendship.
" Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay.
" And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart; For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Joy and Sorrow chapter VIII

 Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
" And he answered: 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 hold 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.


by Kahlil Gibran | |

Laws XIII

 Then a lawyer said, "But what of our Laws, master?" 

And he answered: 

You delight in laying down laws, 

Yet you delight more in breaking them.
Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers with constancy and then destroy them with laughter.
But while you build your sand-towers the ocean brings more sand to the shore, And when you destroy them, the ocean laughs with you.
Verily the ocean laughs always with the innocent.
But what of those to whom life is not an ocean, and man-made laws are not sand-towers, But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with which they would carve it in their own likeness? What of the cripple who hates dancers? What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things? What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all others naked and shameless? And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all feasters law-breakers? What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the sunlight, but with their backs to the sun? They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.
And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows? And what is it to acknowledge the laws but to stoop down and trace their shadows upon the earth? But you who walk facing the sun, what images drawn on the earth can hold you? You who travel with the wind, what weathervane shall direct your course? What man's law shall bind you if you break your yoke but upon no man's prison door? What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble against no man's iron chains? And who is he that shall bring you to judgment if you tear off your garment yet leave it in no man's path? People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?


by Kahlil Gibran | |

On Pain

 Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses 
your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen, And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.