Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Toad's Favo(u)rite...The Prophet

(Khalil Gibran, photograph by Fred Holland Day, c. 1898. wiki commons)




Khalil Gibran.jpg
Khalil Gibran, April 1913
BornJubran Khalil Jubran
January 6, 1883
BsharriMount Lebanon MutasarrifateOttoman Syria(modern day Lebanon)
DiedApril 10, 1931 (aged 48)
New York City, United States
OccupationPoetpainterwriterphilosopher,theologianvisual artist
NationalityLebanese
GenresPoetryparableshort story
Literary movementMahjarNew York Pen League
Notable work(s)The ProphetBroken Wings

The Prophet is a book of 26 prose poetry essays written in English by the Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer Kahlil Gibran.[1] It was originally published in 1923 by Alfred A. Knopf. It is Gibran's best known work. The Prophet has been translated into over forty different languages[2] and has never been out of print.[3] (Wikipedia)


A friend of mine that I hadn't seen since high school gave me this book, (probably about two years ago now), she moved back to our home state from living out west for about a decade.The book was a gift to her from a boyfriend in her senior year of high school...I had never heard of it before and she mentioned that she thought I'd like it and that she'd found an extra copy at the local free section at the transfer station AKA "The Mall." Ha! 

Any way...this collection is rich and deeply wise...it sits next to my copy of the Tao Te Ching because it feels similar in it's timeless wisdom.

It's the sort of writing that one might choose to digest in small portions...one can read it in a single sitting but in order to glean all the gems...little bites are best.



It's truly beautiful writing...

Here's a section that I find magical:

On Eating and Drinking
 Kahlil Gibran

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 newly born 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 man. 


When you kill a beast say to him in your heart,
"By the same power that slays you, I too 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 vineyards for the winepress, say in your 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.... 


Thank you for joining me in this moment for favo(u)rites to reflect on the talented gift of this particular poet. 

22 comments:

grapeling said...

Excellent excerpts, Hannah. I'll need to see if I still have my copy, or if it wandered away (as my poetry books have a way of doing) ~ M

Karen said...

I last read The Prophet at age 20. I wonder how differently I would read it now...

Kerry O'Connor said...

If only we could show such respect for all that we receive so bountifully and with little regard in our daily lives.

It is little books like these that contain the essence of wisdom - such a gift to mankind.

Thank you for sharing Gibran with us today, Hannah.

Wendy Ewurum said...

Thank you for introducing me to it. I will definitely give it some attention. I'd never heard of this book or writer before today

Susan said...

Thank you, Hannah! I've got a rather fancy copy of this on my shelf--one I haven't opened in decades. I'll take it down later today. I remember particularly loving the sections on parenting and children and love.

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

Great stuff, especially this line:
"Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven."

Hannah said...

I'm so thrilled that you're all enjoying Kahlil Gibran! Thank you, everyone for visiting and sharing in the experience.

Yes, I agree, Kerry and thank you! :)

Robert Bourne said...

some excellent pieces...and a new discovery for me...

Heaven said...

I have read his work and I am still amaze by his verses ~ Thanks for sharing his wonderful words with us Hannah ~

Grace

Lolamouse said...

I had always heard of "The Prophet" but don't think I ever actually read it. It is remarkably relevant to this day. Thank you.

Kay L. Davies said...

When I was young, my godmother gave me a copy of this book as a gift. It is wonderfully wise, and I'm so pleased you count it as a favourite.
K

L. Edgar Otto said...

I do not have a copy of Gibran as even the cheaper ones from old book stores I invariably gave away to those who needed a life in perspective. I recall his comments on living in New York as a city - about the time I lived there... and when I too felt kinship with the great sentimental Southern novels- Look Homeward Angel and You can't go home again... what a Ceder of Lebanon as much the poetry for the human condition as it is close to what is hidden in great mysteries

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Hannah, great choice. Gibran has been important to me most of my life. A beautiful soul.

hedgewitch said...

An old favourite poet, Hannah, and a lovely autumnal choice on which to close your piece...I am all for being a vineyard. Thanks.

Ella said...

Wonderful Hannah!
A fitting pick~ Thank you for sharing this remarkable voice~



aspiritofsimplicity said...

I have a copy that my father bought for me when I was about 15. It's very special to me because he died in 1981

Margaret said...

I am Catholic and quite a few years back attended eucharistic adoration monthly. Once this was one of the books I brought in - as to me his poetry is prayer. Some "old fart" told me I could only bring in a Bible... I was young enough to not say "fiddlesticks". Today I would! And he is in my bedside bookcase :) Nice choice, Hannah.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Hannah, this was perfect. Gibran is one of my favorites, and I've read passages from "On Love" at many weddings.

Also, he had a book called, I think, "Jesus of Nazareth," imagining what other people around Jesus thought of him... mystical and insightful.

Wonderful choice of quotes, too. Amy

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Hannah, this was perfect. Gibran is one of my favorites, and I've read passages from "On Love" at many weddings.

Also, he had a book called, I think, "Jesus of Nazareth," imagining what other people around Jesus thought of him... mystical and insightful.

Wonderful choice of quotes, too. Amy

Marian said...

oh yes, very nice. i too think of Kahlil Gibran in association with weddings, so it was good to step back and enjoy in a broader/different context. thank you, Hannah.

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