In the days after my grandmother’s passing we cleaned out her house. She had lived through the depression and developed rather horder-esque ways because of it…it was no small task. On the bookshelf at the bottom of the stairs, where years before I had run so often and eagerly to fetch the books of poems she would read to me, this time I found one she had never shown me. The text was familiar but the book was not, i had come to Gibran in my own way and time, but at that moment, when I needed the words, there they were.
The Prophet, By Khalil Gibran, is a series of poetry that through the years has continued to inspire me in many different situations, when I trace my fingertips over that old book or his words dance through my head, I am blessed not only in the comfort of what he created, but in hearing the voice of my grandmother speaking the words. She never, to my recollection, read me Gibran in the years we shared upon this earth, but she reads them to me often now that she’s passed on. When I miss her, I sit with Gibran’s words, and in my mind she reminds me, she pushes me onward and she urges me to peace, she is all around me even now, and that is my honest belief and feeling.
“You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands
before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
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?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”Khalil Gibran, “The Prophet, on Death”
Somedays, when the mood is lighter, I sit in her spirit and she reads me the poems she always read me – Longfellow’s Hiawatha or Paul Revere, or my old favorite: Ogden Nash’s – The Tale of Custard the Dragon.
She is with me, always…in memory, in voice, in love and in the sunshine that surrounds me.
I only wish that others could find the peace she and I have both found in her passing. I wish this could be true for all of you.