Kahlil Gibran, an artist, poet, and writer was born on January 6, 1883 n the north of modern-day Lebanon and in what was then part of Ottoman Empire. He had no formal schooling in Lebanon. In 1895, the family immigrated to the United States when Kahlil was a young man and settled in South Boston.
Gibran enrolled in an art school and was soon a member of the avant-garde community and became especially close to Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day who encouraged and supported Gibran’s creative projects.
An accomplished artist in drawing and watercolor, Kahlil attended art school in Paris from 1908 to 1910, pursuing a symbolist and romantic style. He held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day's studio. It was at this exhibition, that Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, who ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship and love affair that lasted the rest of Gibran’s short life.
Haskell influenced every aspect of Gibran’s personal life and career. She became his editor when he began to write and ushered his first book into publication in 1918, The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose.
Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931, at the age of 48 from cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis.
Khalil Gibran Timeline:
1883: Gibran was born in Bsharri, Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate.
1895: His mother took Khalil and his brothers and sisters to New York, was enrolled in the school
1902: Returned to Boston.
1904: Held his first art exhibition of his drawings in Boston at Fred Day’s studio.
1908: Went to study art with Auguste Rodin in Paris for two years.
1911-1912: Met `Abdu'l-Bahá, the leader of the Bahá’í Faith.
1918: His first book, “The Madman” was published by Alfred A. Knopf.
1923: His most famous book, “The Prophet” was first published.
1931: Died in New York City.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
All you have shall someday be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving
may be yours and not your inheritors.
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare
feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
“All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.”
"And let the winds of the heavens dance between you."
"A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle."
"An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper."
"Beauty in not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."
"Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror."
"Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother."
“Every man loves two women;the one is the creation of his imagination and the other is not yet born.”
"Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation."
"Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking."
"Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity."
"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one”
"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?"
“Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.”
“For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind?”
“For what is Evil but Good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?”
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need."
"Give and Take... For to the bee a flower is a fountain if life And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving is a need and an ecstasy "
“God made Truth with many doors to welcome every believer who knocks on them.”
“He who listens to truth is not less than he who utters truth.”
“How generous you are, Earth,
and how strong is your yearning for your children lost between that which they have attained and that which they could not obtain.
We clamor and you smile; we flit but you stay!
We extract your elements to make cannons and bombs,
but out of our elements you create lilies and roses.
"If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember."
“It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations”
“I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires.”
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
“I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.
"If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work."
“If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully.”
If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.
“In battling evil, excess is good; for he who is moderate in announcing the truth is presenting half-truth. He conceals the other half out of fear of the people's wrath.”
“It is well to give when asked but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.”
“I love you my brother whoever you are whether you worship in your church, kneel in your temple, or pray in your mosque. You and I are all children of one faith, for the diverse paths of religion are fingers of the loving hand of one Supreme Being, a hand extended to all, offering completeness of spirit to all, eager to receive all.”
“In truth you owe naught to any man. You owe all to all men.”
“It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations."
"It is only when you are lost in your smaller selves that you seek the sky which you call God. Would that you might find paths into your vast selves."
"I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires."
“... joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
"Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children."
"Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love."
"Let your best be for your friend..."
"Life is indeed darkness save when there is urge, and all urge is blind save when there is knowledge, and all knowledge is vain save when there is work, and all work is empty save when there is love."
“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.”
“Love possesses not nor will it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love.”
“Love is trembling happiness.”
“Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls”
“Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms.”
“Much of your pain is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.”
"Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and enlivens the other who turns it on his fellow man."
"March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path."
"My Soul is Heavy Laden with Its Fruits: Would that I were a dry well, and that the people tossed stones into me, for that would be easier than to be a spring of flowing water that the thirsty pass by, and from which they avoid drinking"
"No man can reveal to you nothing but that which already lies half-asleep in the dawning of your knowledge."
“Of the Good in you I can speak, but not of the Evil. “
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."
"Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge."
"Solitude is the companion of sorrow as well as the companion of spiritual exaltation."
"Seek ye counsel of the aged for their eyes have looked on the faces of the years and their ears have hardened to the voices of Life. Even if their counsel is displeasing to you, pay heed to them."
"Say not, I have found the truth, but rather, I have found a truth."
“Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.”
Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.
"The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master."
"The song that lies silent in the heart of a mother sings upon this lips of her child. --"
"The chemist who can extract from his heart's elements, compassion, respect, longing, patience, regret, surprise, and forgiveness and compound them into one can create that atom which is called love."
“The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.”
“Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.”
“To be able to look back upon one’s life in satisfaction, is to live twice”
“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”
“The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says, but rather to what he does not say.”
“Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness.”
“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose.”
“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to do.”
“The lights of stars that were extinguished ages ago still reaches us. So it is with great men who died centuries ago, but still reach us with the radiations of their personalities.”
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
“Those who give you a serpent when you ask for a fish, may have nothing but serpents to give. It is then generosity on their part.”
“The appearance of things change according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”
"The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply."
"The teacher gives not of his wisdom, but rather of his faith and lovingness."
"The significance of a man is not in what he attains, but rather what he longs to attain."
"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolutions."
"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding."
"Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights."
"You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams."
"Your daily life is your temple and religion."
"You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?"
"Your friend is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving."
"Yesterday is but today's memory, and tomorrow is today's dream."
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, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
“Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.”
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
“Yes, there is a Nirvanah; it is in leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem.
You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pastures.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights,
is worthy of all else from you.
“Your friend is your needs answered.”
Your life is an island separated from all other islands and continents. Regardless of how many boats you send to other shores or how many ships arrive upon your shores, you yourself are an island separated by its own pains, secluded in its happiness”
"Verily the kindness that gazes upon itself in a mirror turns to stone, and a good deed that calls itself by tender names becomes the parent to a curse."
"When we turn to one another for counsel we reduce the number of our enemies."
"Work is love made visible. And if you can't work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy."
“When Good is hungry, it seeks food, even in dark caves, and when it thirsts, it drinks even of dead waters.”
“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.”
“What difference is there between us, save a restless dream that follows my soul but fears to come near you?”
“When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in her may be clearer in her absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.”
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that, in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
Art work by Kahlil Gibran