One of the great poets of the 20th century.
No writer has changed my life more than the lebanese master of poetic spirituality - Kahlil Gibran. His legendary collection of poems encompassing human experience entitled 'The Prophet' has been translated into over 100 languages making it one of the most read poetry books of all time having sold nearly 10 million copies less than a hundred years after its initial publication in 1923 whilst Gibran was living in New York, after he migrated with his mother in 1895.
Despite this huge commercial success Gibran was not recognised by Western critics until the turn of the 21st century. This was most probably due to the prejudice against his status as an immigrant, as well as how the spiritual nature of his writing was inspired by Sufi mysticism and Arabic poetry that Gibran gew up around in his native Lebanon and was not considered as 'advanced' as other styles of poetry during the 20s and 30s.
As well as a poet he was also a skilled artist and created more than 700 paintings and drawings - also not recognised by critics in the west, now having been returned to his native country and displayed in his tomb. His art highlights his ability to convey a deep sensitivty for experience and imagination, also evidence of the extremely high level of creative ability Gibran was gifted with, applying himself at a level of mastery in seperate artistic practices, both exploring themes of nature and spiritual awakening.
The Prophet unfolds with the coming of a ship, an invitation for discovery. Inspired by many ancient spiritual and religous texts, the poems are delivered through the voice of a prophet, Al Mustafa, as he adresses questions that are being put forth to him by the people of the city regarding love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.
Speaking on Self Knowledge, Gibran wrote -
"Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea; And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path.
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals."
Kahlil Gibran has awakened countless souls spiritually acrosss the globe with his poetry, exploring the depths of understanding in his worlds of sacred teachings that encourage a heightened awareness and wisdom of life.
After his death at the age of 48 his body was moved four times until finding its final resting place in a Lebanese monastry, now attracting visitors from all over the world as the Gibran museum. www.gibrankhalilgibran.org
"Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity" (The Prophet)
- Psychic Garden