Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Happy Birthday Khalil Gibran


Full Name: Gibran Khalil Gibran | جبران خليل جبران

Born: January 6, 1883 — Bsharri, Lebanon
Died: April 10, 1931 — New York City, USA
Occupation(s): Poet, philosopher, artist, painter, mystic

Nationality: Lebanon, United States

Gibran information pages:

Official website | | BBC | A Fan Site | Gibran Art Gallery | Wikipedia



From his most famous work, The Prophet

Then said Almitra, “Speak to us of Love.”

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.gibran-artwork.jpg

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.gibran_painting_10.jpg

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

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.

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.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

The entire poem is available at various sites, including here and here

4 comments on “Happy Birthday Khalil Gibran

  1. thepoetryman
    7 January, 2007

    Kahlil! Yes! “The Prophet” is my daily reader!

    “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”

    “And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.”

    Two of my favorite lines of his and if I had all night I could fill volumes with this incredible man’s writings.

    Thank you.


  2. thepoetryman
    7 January, 2007

    I almost forgot to leave you with my tribute to the children inspired by Kahlil himself… Enjoy.


    “Your children are not your children. They are
    the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.”
    Kahlil Gibran

    O! Kahlil, you have shown the way
    If we would but trace your shadow!

    Let us carefully propel our children
    Toward the seed of humankind,
    We are merely the bow
    From which they must take wing,
    They are the blazing arrows
    Of this globe’s ensuing design.

    We must learn to permit our children
    To craft their own shape and desire.
    We may only point them toward the path
    Of kindness and knowledge,
    For their truth and chosen course
    Were forged long before we imagined them.

    Give to them of your knowledge
    But do not expect them take it,
    For they were born with their own splendor
    Cuddled up at their feet,
    They are made of flesh and bone
    Not of an artist’s clay shaped by human hand.

    We must tell our children of our own roads,
    But let the one they brightly travel
    Be of their life’s choosing.
    We have set them toward the path
    And gracefully propelled them,
    It is now theirs to bestow upon it life’s breath.

  3. peoplesgeography
    7 January, 2007

    Thanks very much Poetry Man, and that’s a sublime tribute to Gibran with your wonderful poem.

  4. homeyra
    7 January, 2007

    I was going to write down the first lines of the poetry above, but the poetryman was here first.
    This is what I always remember from Gibran:
    Vos enfants ne sont pas vos enfants,
    Ceux sont les cadeaux de la vie a elle-meme

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This entry was posted on 6 January, 2007 by in Arts, Empire, War and Terror, Geopolitics, International Law, Iraq, Lebanon, Opinion, People, Philosophy, Poetry, Religion, USA.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"