_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________CGibran
Excerpts from "The Prophet" by Gibran Kahlil
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The Prophet (Almustafa), the chosen and the beloved, had waited twelve years for his ship that
was to return and take him back to the isle of his birth. The day when he climbed the hill and
saw the ship approaching, he experienced great joy. But as he descended the hill he became sad:
"Who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?" The people of the city
surrounded him and pleaded with him not to leave. Out of the sanctuary came Almitra, the
seeress. "Prophet of God," she said, "in quest of the uttermost, long have you searched the
distances for your ship. And now your ship has come, and you must needs go...."
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.
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, for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill 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.
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:
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in you heart
and a song of praise upon you lips.


On Marriage
(An excerpt from The Prophet" By Gibran Khalil)

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, Master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
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.



On Beauty
(An excerpt from "The Prophet" by Gibran Khalil)

And a poet said,, Speak to us of Beauty.
And he answered:
Where shall you seek beauty, and how
shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."

The tired and the weary say, "beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."
But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of
lions."

At night the watchmen of the city say,
"Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say,
"we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."

In winter say the snow-bound,
"She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills."
And in the summer heat the reapers say,
"We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."

All these things have you said of beauty.
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes
and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and your are the mirror.



On Work
(An excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran)

Then a ploughman said, Speak to us of Work.
And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with
the earth and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,
and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty
and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through
whose heart the whispering of the hours
turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent,
When all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is
a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil
a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you
when the dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you
are in truth loving life,
And to love life's labour is to be intimate
with life's innermost secret.

But if in your pain you would call birth an affliction
and the support of the flesh a curse
written upon your brow,
than I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow
shall wash away that which is written,

You have been told that life is darkness,
and in your weariness you echo what
was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed a darkness
save when there is urge.
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind
yourself to yourself, and to one another,
and to God.

And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn
from your own heart,
even as if your beloved
were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved
were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and
reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved
were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion
with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep,
"He who works in marble, and finds the shape
of his own soul in the stone,
is nobler that he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a
cloth in the likeness of man, is more
than he who makes the sandals for our feet."
But I say, not in sleep but in the over- wakefulness of noontide,
that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks
than to the least of all the blades of grass.
And he alone is great who turns the voice
of the wind into a song made sweeter by
his own loving.

Work is love made visible
And if you cannot work with love but only
with distate, it is better that you should
leave your work and sit at the gate of the
temple and take alms of those who work with joy..
For if you bake bread with indifference
you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half
man's hunger
And if you grudge the crushing of the
grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine
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.


On Crime and Punishment
(An excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran)

Then one of the judges of the city stood forth and said,
"Speak to us of Crime and Punishment."
And he answered saying:

It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind,
That you, alone and unguarded, commit a wrong unto others
and therefore unto yourself.
And for that wrong committed must you
knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed.

Like the ocean is your god-self; It remains for ever undefiled.
And like the ether it lifts but the winged.
Even like the sun is your god-self;
It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent.
But your god-self does not dwell alone in your being.

Much in you is still man, and much in you is not yet man,
But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep
in the mist searching for its own awakening.
And of the man in you would I now speak.
For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist,
that knows crime and the punishment of crime.

Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong
as though he were not one of you,
but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
But I say that even as the holy and the righteous
cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower
than the lowest which is in you also.
And as a single leaf turns not yellow but
with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong
without the hidden will of you all.

Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him,
a caution against the stumbling stone.
Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him,
who though faster and surer of foot,
yet removed not the stumbling stone.

And this also, though the word lie heavy upon your hearts:
The murdered is not unaccountable for his own murder,
And the robbed is not blameless in being robbed.
The righteous is not innocent of the deeds of the wicked,
And the white-handed is not clean in the doings of the felon.
Yea, the guilty is oftentimes the victim of the injured,
And still more often the condemned is the burden-bearer
for the guiltless and unblamed.

You cannot separate the just from the unjust
and the good from the wicked;
For they stand together before the face of the sun
even as the black thread and the white are woven together.
And when the black thread breaks,
the weaver shall look into the whole cloth,
and he shall examine the loom also.

If any of you would bring judgment the unfaithful wife,
Let him also weight the heart of her husband in scales,
and measure his soul with measurements.
And let him who would lash the offender
look unto the spirit of the offended.
And if any of you would punish in the name of righteousness
and lay the ax unto the evil tree,
let him see to its roots;
And verily he will find the roots of the good and the bad,
the fruitful and the fruitless,
all entwined together in the silent heart of the earth.

And you judges who would be just,
What judgment pronounce you upon him who
though honest in the flesh yet is a thief in spirit?
What penalty lay you upon him who
slays in the flesh yet is himself slain in the spirit?
And how prosecute you him who in action is a deceiver and an oppressor,
Yet who also is aggrieved and outraged?
And how shall you punish those whose
remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?
Is not remorse the justice which is administered
by that very law which you would fain serve?
Yet you cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor
lift it from the heart of the guilty.
Unbidden shall it call in the night,
that men may wake and gaze upon themselves.

And you who would understand justice, how shall you
unless you look upon all deeds in the fullness of light?
Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen are but one man
standing in twilight between the night
of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self,
And that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher
than the lowest stone in its foundation.



On Children
(An excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran)

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said,
"Speak to us of Children".
And he said:

Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but are 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 chilren
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 your bending in th earcher's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So he loves also the bow that is stable.


On Friendship
(An excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran)

And a youth said, Speak to us of Friendship.
And he answered, saying:

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
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 the 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, an sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things
the heart finds its morning and is refrewshed.


On Giving
(An excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran)

Then said a rich man, Speak to us of Giving.
And he answered:

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 over-prudent 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?
There are those who give little
of the much which they have-
and they give it
for recognition and their hidden desire
makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life,
and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy,
and their joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain,
and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not
pain in giving, nor do they seek joy,
nor give with mindfulness of virtue:
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle
breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God
speaks, and from behind their eyes
He smiles upon the earth.

It is well to give when asked, but it is
better to give unasked, through understanding:
And to the open-handed the search for
one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
And is there aught your would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given:
Therefore give now, that the season of
giving may be yours and not your inheritors`.

You often say,"I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so,
nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live,
for to with-hold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his
days and nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from
the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be,
than that, which lies in the courage and the
confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend
their bosom and unveil their pride,
that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be
a giver,and an instrument of giving.

For in truth it is life that gives unto life-
while you, who deem yourself a giver are but a witness.

And you receivers- and you are all
receivers- assume no weight of gratitude,
lest you lay a yoke upon
yourself and upon he who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings:
For to be over mindful of your debt,is
to doubt his generosity who has the
free-hearted earth for mother,and God for father