The gateway drug to poetry

“The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

I’ve never been a fan of poetry, but I guess it takes the best of the best as the “gateway drug” that could lure us into anything new. And for a book written in 1923 which has since become an international bestseller for more than 9 decades, this book really delivers.

The wisdom are plentiful, they cover many different aspects of life, and their message are timeless, while the simplicity of the flow ensures us that all of this can be read in just one sitting.

These are some of my favourites:

On marriage: “Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For the only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

And on giving: “Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is in giving me that which you need more than I do.”

Moreover, the version that I read has annotations by Suheil Bushrui that provide a much needed context (remember, I’m not a fan of poetry), which in several occasions even give me more gems than the original poetry.

One such occasion is when Bushrui annotate a line by Gibran from his other book, which is just perfect, given the context of the poetry: “You are my brother and I love you. I love you when you prostrate yourself in your mosque, and kneel on your church, and pray in your synagogue, you and I are sons of one faith – the spirit.”