For years now people have told me that I should read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. They have used words like “brilliant” and “favorite book” and “beautiful poetry.” Hey, I’m all for beautiful poetry! But I never read it.
One reason was time. There are only so many books a person can read in a year. The other is that the cover slightly creeped me out. I thought, what the heck kind of poetry is going to be in this book? Still another reason is that, I wondered if this would be my kind of poetry. You know? I can’t stand poetry that is overly dramatic or so incredibly deep I don’t get it. I think I’m probably like most people in that respect, even though I write poetry myself.
One time I was reading this interview with a poet who said she wrote her first poem and then threw up, because it was so incredibly moving. Eeek – what a crock. Listen, I’m all about poetry that shakes you to your core, I write it, I read it, I enjoy it because it makes me think… but let’s not get dramatic people. You threw up because you wrote a poem? Then perhaps you need some Pepto.
Anyways, so for all those reasons I feared that The Prophet would not be my cup of tea. But recently I was at a second hand bookstore and picked up a copy for $1. (Cuz you know…. I’m cheap.) And lo’ and behold, I loved it. I couldn’t stop reading it. So that just goes to show you, never shy away from picking up poetry because you think it will be too hoity toity. Some of the lines that have stayed with me are:
“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
yet they belong to you…”
“You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward
nor tarries with yesterday.”
“Would that you could meet the
sun and the wind with more of
your skin and less of your raiment,
For the breath of life is in
the sunlight and the hand of
life is in the wind.”
That last stanza reminded me a lot of a Story People print I have on my wall that says:
“She left pieces of her life behind her everywhere she went. It’s easier to feel the sunlight without them, she said.”
By the way, if you haven’t yet checked out Story People by Brian Andreas, please do! He is so talented. I love his stuff and find it very inspiring.