The Beloved: Reflections on the Path of the Heart by Khalil Gibran
"The Beloved: Reflections on the Path of the Heart"
I purified my lips with sacred fire that I might speak of love,
but when I opened my mouth to speak,I found myself mute.
I sang the melodies of a love I did not yet know,but when I came
to know it,the words became a muffled whisper in my mouth,
the songs in my breast a profound silence.
In the past, O people, you asked me about the wonders
and delights of love, and you found satisfaction in what I told you.
But now, when love has draped me with its robes,
I in my turn come to ask you about its ways and virtues.
Is there one among you who can answer me?
I come to ask you about what is in me and
wish you to tell me of my own soul.
Is there one among you who can explain my heart to my own heart, who can explain my essence to my essence itself?
Will you not tell me what is this fire kindled in my breast?
It consumes my faculties and melts my emotions and desires.
What are these invisible hands,soft yet coarse,that grip my spirit in my hours of solitude and loneliness?
Into my heart they pour wine mixed with the bitterness of pleasure and the sweetness of pain.
What are these things rustling about my couch in the silence of the night as I watch makeful for what I know not,listening to what I do not hear,starting at what I do not see,pondering what I do not comprehend,aware of what I do not apprehend, sighing because in sighs are the groanings more beloved to me than
the echoes of laughter and joy,submitting to an unseen power that slays me,then gives me life,then slays me again and again until dawn breaks and light fills the corners of my room.Then I sleep.Yet behind my spent eyelids forms of wakefulness dance and on my stony blanket sway the phantoms of dreams.
What is this which we call 'love'?
Tell me what is this hidden mystery concealed beyond the ages,
lurking behind appearances,yet making its home
in the heart of being?
What is this unconditioned thought that comes
as the cause of all effects, as the effect of all causes?
What is this wakefulness that encompasses both death and life and molds them into a dream stranger than life and deeper than death?
Tell me, O people, tell me! Who among you would not wake from the sleep of life if love were to brush your spirit with its fingertips?
Who among you would not forsake your father and your mother and your home if the girl whom your heart loved were to call to him?
Who among you would not cross the seas, traverse deserts, go over mountains and valleys to reach the woman whom his spirit has chosen?
What youth would not follow his heart to the ends of the earth to breathe the sweetness of his lover's breath, feel the soft touch of her hands, delight in the melody of her voice?
What man would not immolate his soul that its smoke might rise to a god who would bear his plea and answer his prayer?