Wise Poets, Wise Poets of the Past

Kahlil Gibran: America’s Mystical Immigrant

Kahlil Gibran:  America’s Mystical Immigrant

Kahlil Gibran: America’s Mystical Immigrant

Kahlil Gibran, born on January 6, 1883 in a Lebanese village in the exotic Ottoman Empire, is most famous for his best selling book, :”The Prophet. It was a popular book full of philosophical prose poetry and mystical illustrations of nude people which has been translated into 100 languages and over the decades since it was first written in 1923 has sold one million copies.

Gibran was a Lebanese immigrant living in Boston who considered himself to more of an artist than he did a writer, and not a philosopher at all. His father had been a tax collector for the Ottoman Empire but was imprisoned for embezzlement, so his mother moved the now impoverished family to America. She supported her family by working as a seamstress and by selling lace and linens door to door. Gibran went to school in Boston where he was recognized as a creative early in life and was introduced to photographer and publisher F. Holland Day by a teacher. But his mother decided to send him back to Lebanon to attend school at age 15 so he would not lose touch with his culture. The family were members of the Maronite church, the Eastern Orthodox arm of the Roman Catholic Church and is fully recognized by the Pope. But after the death of his mother. And the deaths of his sister and half brother which followed, Gibran returned to Boston where he was supported by his surviving sister who was also a seamstress.

His art was eventually recognized in a showing at Day’s studio in Boston where he met Mary Haskell who would become his financial benefactress and close lifelong friend, although it is unknown whether or not they were also lovers. He wrote his first book in Arabic and a second book entitled “The Madman”, and Mary Haskell sent him to France to study art. However, his art went acclaimed by the art critics of the day. But his last book “The Prophet” would become popular with the masses for both the writing and the illustrations in the book. Religiously, Gibran was not only influenced by Maronite Christianity but also by the Sufism, a highly spiritual form of Islam with a focus on the inner life of a worshiper and asceticism as opposed to the more prosperous and worldly form of Islam that we know today. But later in life he would become a follower of Baha’i-La, a religion that believes all the world’s religions should unify. Gibran believed in reincarnation.

The main character of Gibran’s most famous book, Al Mustafa, had been living in the city of Orphalese for 12 years and was about to leave with the stopped him to hear some parting words of wisdom from him, So “The Prophet” teaches them one more time in a long speech about the human condition and the issues of life such as love, marriage, children, beauty, and death, and is rich in symbolism.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“When love beckons you to follow him, those his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.”

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”

“Your children are not your children. They are the son’s and daughters of life longing for itself.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Gibran died on April 10, 1931 in New York City but was buried in his home village of Bsharri in Lebanon and is considered to be Lebanon’s foremost modern writer.

Kahlil Gibran, born on January 6, 1883 in a Lebanese village in the exotic Ottoman Empire, is most famous for his best selling book, :”The Prophet. It was a popular book full of philosophical prose poetry and mystical illustrations of nude people which has been translated into 100 languages and over the decades since it was first written in 1923 has sold one million copies.

Gibran was a Lebanese immigrant living in Boston who considered himself to more of an artist than he did a writer, and not a philosopher at all. His father had been a tax collector for the Ottoman Empire but was imprisoned for embezzlement, so his mother moved the now impoverished family to America. She supported her family by working as a seamstress and by selling lace and linens door to door. Gibran went to school in Boston where he was recognized as a creative early in life and was introduced to photographer and publisher F. Holland Day by a teacher. But his mother decided to send him back to Lebanon to attend school at age 15 so he would not lose touch with his culture. The family were members of the Maronite church, the Eastern Orthodox arm of the Roman Catholic Church and is fully recognized by the Pope. But after the death of his mother. And the deaths of his sister and half brother which followed, Gibran returned to Boston where he was supported by his surviving sister who was also a seamstress.

His art was eventually recognized in a showing at Day’s studio in Boston where he met Mary Haskell who would become his financial benefactress and close lifelong friend, although it is unknown whether or not they were also lovers. He wrote his first book in Arabic and a second book entitled “The Madman”, and Mary Haskell sent him to France to study art. However, his art went acclaimed by the art critics of the day. But his last book “The Prophet” would become popular with the masses for both the writing and the illustrations in the book. Religiously, Gibran was not only influenced by Maronite Christianity but also by the Sufism, a highly spiritual form of Islam with a focus on the inner life of a worshiper and asceticism as opposed to the more prosperous and worldly form of Islam that we know today. But later in life he would become a follower of Baha’i-La, a religion that believes all the world’s religions should unify. Gibran believed in reincarnation.

The main character of Gibran’s most famous book, Al Mustafa, had been living in the city of Orphalese for 12 years and was about to leave with the stopped him to hear some parting words of wisdom from him, So “The Prophet” teaches them one more time in a long speech about the human condition and the issues of life such as love, marriage, children, beauty, and death, and is rich in symbolism.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“When love beckons you to follow him, those his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.”

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”

“Your children are not your children. They are the son’s and daughters of life longing for itself.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Gibran died on April 10, 1931 in New York City but was buried in his home village of Bsharri in Lebanon and is considered to be Lebanon’s foremost modern writer.

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