by Kahlil Gibran
Category: Fiction / Literary
96 pages; ISBN: 0394404289
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Judith Woolcock Colombo
Lyrically poetic, profoundly beautiful, philosophically brilliant, all of these adjectives are mere attempts to describe "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran. Gibran wrote this masterpiece in 1923 and today it still mesmerizes and teaches.
The story begins when Almustafa, the prophet, displaced for many years form the home of his birth makes ready to return to it. However, while he awaits the boat that will carry him back to the land of his youth, the people of his adopted country surround him. They gather around imploring him not to leave without sharing his wisdom with them one final time. “Yet this we ask ere you leave us, that you speak to us and give us of your truth.”
"The Prophet" bends to their will and begins to teach them one more time. What follows is a series of superbly written essays discussing topics as sublime as love, good and evil, reason and passion, prayer, freedom and death and topics as ordinary as marriage, clothes, children, work, eating and drinking, and talking.
My love affair with the works of Kahlil Gibran began in 1962 when I received Spirits Rebellious for my twelfth birthday. I have loved his works ever since and read and reread them over the years. However, even with such a fine body of work, one piece must stand out and without a doubt that is The Prophet.
This book beautifully illustrated by the author is as profound and meaningful now as it was eighty years ago. Many times during my teaching career, I have introduced this book to my students and have never been disappointed in their responses. Many a eighteen year old rap or rock enthusiast have responded well to lines such as:
Pleasure is a freedom –song,
But it is not freedom.
It is the blossoming of your desires,
But it is not their fruit.
It is a depth calling unto a height,
But it is not the deep nor the high.
It is the caged taking wing,
But it is not space encompassed.
Ay, in very truth pleasure is a freedom-song.
And I fain would have you sing it in with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you loose your hearts in singing.
A wonderful book in 1923, "The Prophet" is and will continue to be a wonderful book in 2023. I refuse to measure the worth of this book. To read it is to be enlightened. Enjoy!