Tag Archive: american lebanese author


Pleasure — Khalil Gibran

Kahlil-Gibran

 

Then a hermit, who visited the city once a year, came forth and said, “Speak to us of Pleasure.”
And he answered, saying:

Pleasure is a freedom song,
But it is not freedom.

It is the blossoming of your desires,
But it is not their fruit.

It is a depth calling unto a height,
But it is not the deep nor the high.

It is the caged taking wing,
But it is not space encompassed.

 

Ay, in very truth, pleasure is a freedom-song.
And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you lose your hearts in the singing.

Some of your youth seek pleasure as if it were all, and they are judged and rebuked.
I would not judge nor rebuke them. I would have them seek.

 

For they shall find pleasure, but not her alone:

Seven are her sisters, and the least of them is more beautiful than pleasure.
Have you not heard of the man who was digging in the earth for roots and found a treasure?

And some of your elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongs committed in drunkenness.
But regret is the beclouding of the mind and not its chastisement.

They should remember their pleasures with gratitude, as they would the harvest of a summer.
Yet if it comforts them to regret, let them be comforted.

 

And there are among you those who are neither young to seek nor old to remember;
And in their fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures, lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it.

But even in their foregoing is their pleasure.
And thus they too find a treasure though they dig for roots with quivering hands.
But tell me, who is he that can offend the spirit?
Shall the nightingale offend the stillness of the night, or the firefly the stars?
And shall your flame or your smoke burden the wind?

Think you the spirit is a still pool which you can trouble with a staff?
Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being.

 

Who knows but that which seems omitted today, waits for tomorrow?
Even your body knows its heritage and its rightful need and will not be deceived.
And your body is the harp of your soul,
And it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.
And now you ask in your heart, “How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?”

 

Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.

 

.

 

The following lines are from the book “The Madmen” by Khalil Gibran, one of my favorite authors:

DEFEAT

Defeat, my defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;

You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,

And sweeter to my heart than all worldglory.

Defeat , my defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,

Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot

And not to be trapped by withering laurels.

And in you I have found aloneness

And the joy of being shunned and scorned.

Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword and shield,

In your eyes I have read,

That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,

And to be understood is to be leveled down,

And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness

And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed

Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,

You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,

And none but you shall speak to me of beating of wings,

And urging of seas,

And of mountains that burn in the night,

And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,

You and I shall laugh together with the storm,

And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,

And together we shall stand in the sun with will,

And we shall be dangerous.

On an evening two angels met at the city gate, and they greeted one another, and they conversed. The one angel said, “What are you doing these days, and what work is given you?”

And the other answered, “It was been assigned me to be the guardian of a fallen man who lives down in the valley, a great sinner, most degraded. Let me assure you it is an important task, and I work hard.”

The first fallen angel said, “That is an easy commission. I have often known sinners, and have been their guardian many a time. But it has now been assigned me to be the guardian of the good saint who lives in a bower out yonder. And I assure you that is an exceedingly difficult work, and most subtle.”

Said the first angel, “This is but assumption. How can guarding a saint be harder than guarding a sinner?”
And the other answered, “What impertinence, to call me assumptious! I have stated but the truth. Methinks it is you who are assumptious!”

Then the angels wrangled and fought, first with words and then with fists and wings. While they were fighting an archangel came by. And he stopped them, and said, “Why do you fight? And what is it all about? Know you not that it is most unbecoming for guardian angels to fight at the city gate? Tell me, what is your disagreement?”

Then both angels spoke at once, each claiming that the work given him was the harder, and that he deserved the greater recognition.

The archangel shook his head and bethought him. Then he said, “My friends, I cannot say now which one of you has the greater claim upon honor and reward. But since the power is bestowed in me, therefore for peace’ sake and for good guardianship, I give each of you the other’s occupation, since each of you insists that the other’s task is the easier one. Now go hence and be happy at your work.”

The angels thus ordered went their ways. But each one looked backward with greater anger at the archangel. And in his heart each was saying, “Oh, these archangels! Every day they make life harder and still harder for us angels!”
But the archangel stood there, and once more he bethought him. And he said in his heart, “We have indeed, to be watchful and to keep guard over our guardian angels.”

.

Khalil Gibran on Love

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;
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.

This poem is another proof of the brilliance of khalil Gibran, out of many other  poems of his, this I find very enchanting. Those parents who believe and consider children to “oblige” to their demands, considering themselves as gods (in short fueling their egos). I think it is a good answer.

For those about to be parents, it is a cautionary note, not to fool themselves into believing that they hold any command over anyone. For circle of life has power beyond few immediate living beings.

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, 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 your bending in the archer’s hands be for happiness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.

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