Khalil Gibran is a world-renowned name who has countless poems written under his account, filtering through nearly every aspect of life; from love to war and spirituality. His words have touched many, comforting those who are enduring pain, a divorce, funerals and rejection. ‘The Prophet’, Gibran’s best known work, includes 26 delicate and poignant poems, was written in 1923 and has since been translated into 40 different languages. At one point, ‘The Prophet’ sold more than 5000 copies a week. To this day, it is still in print confirming the impact that his work has on people’s lives. John F. Kennedy, Indira Gandhi and The Beatles are among those who have been influenced by his words.
‘The Prophet’ is told through a man named Al-Mustafa, who lived in the city of Orphalese for 12 years before setting sail on a ship which enables him to return to his home. On his journey he is stopped by a group of people, with whom he has deep discussions with. The book sifts through important areas of life such as love; marriage; children; crime and punishment; pain; reason and passion; beauty; religion; and death.
Kahlil Gibran’s eloquently woven words
On marriage: “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.”
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……”
On Children: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself”
On Friendship: “In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things, does the heart find its morning and is refreshed.”
Perhaps one of the reasons why Gibran appealed to so many was due to ‘The Prophet’ offering a dogma-free universal spiritualism, urging people to be non-judgmental.
Gibran’s work was influenced not only by his own religion, but also mysticism and the Baha’i religion – stemming from the Persian empire. Throughout his work, the message is one of unity between all faiths.
While a lot of his work was published in English, his early writings began in Arabic. By the 1930s, Gibran had become a prominent and charismatic figure within the Lebanese community and literary circles in New York. True to his artistic nature, he began expressing his creativity by painting before turning to the pen. Most of his paintings have now been shipped to Lebanon, his country of birth, a country whom still celebrates his life.