Painter, poet and novelist Kahlil Gibran wrote many of his works in English in spite of the fact that he was born in Lebanon(then Ottoman Syria). He was educated in Beirut, Paris and Boston.
His writing often spoke to the experiences and loneliness of Syrian immigrants in the New World. For his readers, Gibran’s writing presented a departure from traditional Arabic poetry and prose. His work while still containing the beauty and richness of previous Arabic literature was more fluid and easier to read.
I found this piece on Poetry Foundation and was immediately enamored. I think it is lyrical and although written in a formal tone it is easy to understand. The lines are infused with emotion, but not overwrought. I love how telling it is in spite of not being overly long.
I hope that you’ve all been enjoying your holiday season and are getting plenty to read.
And when my Joy was born, I held it in my arms and stood on the
house-top shouting, “Come ye, my neighbours, come and see, for Joy
this day is born unto me. Come and behold this gladsome thing that
laugheth in the sun.”
But none of my neighbours came to look upon my Joy, and great was
And every day for seven moons I proclaimed my Joy from the
house-top—and yet no one heeded me. And my Joy and I were alone,
unsought and unvisited.
Then my Joy grew pale and weary because no other heart but mine
held its loveliness and no other lips kissed its lips.
Then my Joy died of isolation.
And now I only remember my dead Joy in remembering my dead Sorrow.
But memory is an autumn leaf that murmurs a while in the wind and
then is heard no more.