Some Poetic Wisdom from Kahlil Gibran

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In between books, I happened to pick up a copy of Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran, a man who had his day in the 60s and 70s and, I’m sure, is still read by many. I noticed, as I read through his aphorisms, that some had to do with poetry, art, history, philosophy—all of those abstract distractions that have fascinated me over the roiling years. Here I share a few:

  • The poet is he who makes you feel, after reading his poem, that his best verses have not yet been composed.
  • Poetry is the secret of the soul; why babble it away in words?
  • Poetry is the understanding of the whole. How can you communicate it to him who understands but the part?
  • Poetry is a flame in the heart, but rhetoric is flakes of snow. How can flame and snow be joined together?
  • Art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes.
  • History does not repeat itself except in the minds of those who do not know history.
  • Sayings remain meaningless until they are embodied in habits.
  • Poetry is a flash of lightning; it becomes mere composition when it is an arrangement of words.
  • Art began when man glorified the sun with a hymn of gratitude.
  • Philosophy began when man ate the produce of the earth and suffered indigestion.
  • To be closer to God, be closer to people.

Although you might lament the fact that inspiration is like lightning while words are mere composition, you can at least take hope in the first saying. No matter what you write, the best is yet to come!

A great thought to start any Monday, I think.

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