Poetic Justice

26 June 2013

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is unequivocally one of my favorite books of all time. The book is a series of twenty-six philosophical poems on topics with simple themes like family, work, marriage, friendship and death.

Spoiler alert: there will be no mention of kitten heels, midriffs or the next it-gadget in this post.  We’re getting heavy people; if you’re in to win, then please, read on.  A little spirituality never hurt nobody.

During good times and bad, struggle, confusion, change or falling in love, we so often look to art for guidance.  A song whose lyrics precisely describe your feelings better than you could communicate in your most lucid dreams, a painting or photograph that captures your very thoughts.  We all remember (or those who will admit) when, in the movie Sex in the City, Big e-mails Love Letters of Great Men (Byron, Keats, Hawthorne) to Carrie because his feelings were far too great to express in his own words.

The Prophet has been a medium for me in this very way. My grandmother gave me the book over 15 years ago and I’ve thumbed through it hundreds of times when I’ve needed comfort, solace, or was in search of guidance. Each time I re-read it, I find a new perspective from Gibran’s simple, yet profound, words leaving me inspired and enlightened. Its teachings have proven to be a kind of meditation and inspiration for thousands, including The Beatles, Indira Gandhi, John F. Kennedy and Salma Hayek. It’s virtually free of dogma and leans more spiritual than anything else. Since it was first published in 1923, it has been translated into more than forty languages; and behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu, Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time. High five Gibran!

The featured image is from a book by Barcelona based artist, Leonardo Flores, who, also, was inspired by The Prophet.  He illustrated a book called “Consells per a ser feliç,” or “Tips for Being Happy,” with his own whimsical illustrations portraying the tenderness and simplistic moral virtues of the poems in The Prophet.

I also highly, highly, highly recommend you buy a hardcover of The Prophet for your permanent collection. You can find it here; I’ve purchased plenty copies at my local bookstore.

Here are a few images from Flores’s book with more of his brilliant work featured in his portfolio.

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on Children: You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.

on Good + Evil: “You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.
Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping.
Even those who limp go not backward.
But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness.”

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on Beauty: It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.

 

 

 

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Friendship:

on Friendship: “Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.”