Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Poet's Voice

The power of charity sows deep in my heart, and I reap and gather the wheat in bundles and give them to the hungry.

My soul gives life to the grapevine and I press its bunches and give the juice to the thirsty.

Heaven fills my lamp with oil and I place it at my window to direct the stranger through the dark.

I do all these things because I live in them; and if destiny should tie my hands and prevent me from so doing, then death would be my only desire. For I am a poet, and if I cannot give, I shall refuse to receive.

Humanity rages like a tempest, but I sigh in silence for I know the storm must pass away while a sigh goes to God.

Human kinds cling to earthly things, but I seek ever to embrace the torch of love so it will purify me by its fire and sear inhumanity from my heart.

Substantial things deaden a man without suffering; love awakens him with enlivening pains.

Humans are divided into different clans and tribes, and belong to countries and towns. But I find myself a stranger to all communities and belong to no settlement. The universe is my country and the human family is my tribe.

Men are weak, and it is sad that they divide amongst themselves. The world is narrow and it is unwise to cleave it into kingdoms, empires, and provinces.

Human kinds unite themselves one to destroy the temples of the soul, and they join hands to build edifices for earthly bodies. I stand alone listening to the voice of hope in my deep self saying, "As love enlivens a man's heart with pain, so ignorance teaches him the way of knowledge." Pain and ignorance lead to great joy and knowledge because the Supreme Being has created nothing vain under the sun.

- Khalil Gibran

I think Khalil Gibran is the poet who got me totally hooked on to poetry.

School has a way of infusing a sense of drudgery into everything. And poetry was at the forefront of this for me.

And all the poetry that my grandmother made me memorize during summer vacations allow me to recite it fluently now, but at that time, I was hardly in awe.

But one day, while I was doing my undergraduation, I was in a bookshop and I chanced upon Gibran's 'The Prophet' and I was hooked.

I read the book cover to cover right there and by the end of it, I had a sigh in my soul and stars in my eyes.

And now, if you give me books of prose and poetry and ask me to choose, I will always choose poetry.

I love the sense of whimsy that defines it.

I love that it yields itself to interpretation.

I love the possibility in the words... in the lines...

I love the rules and grammer of it... how it needs to stick to boundaries but there is so much more space and dimension in these boundaries than there ever could be in prose.... the poetic license.

And those who have stumbled upon it and bask in it are blessed to be able to.

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