Excerpt from Sand and Foam,

By Kahlil Gibran


Only once was I made mute. It was when a man asked me , "Who are you?"
The first thought of God was an angel. The first word of God was a man.
Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.
I had a second birth when my soul and my body loved one another and were married.
We measure time according to the movement of countless suns; and they measure time by little machines in their little pockets. Now tell me, how could we ever meet at the same place and the same time?
Do not the spirits who dwell in the ether envy man his pain?
How can I lose faith in the justice of life, when the dreams of those who sleep upon feathers are not more beautiful than the dreams of those who sleep upon the earth?
Strange, the desire for certain pleasures is a part of my pain.
There is a space between man's imagination and man's attainment that may only be traversed by his longing.
The significance of man is not in what he attains, but rather in what he longs to attain.
The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he does not say.
Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.
A sense of humor is a sense of proportion.
A truth is to be known always, to be uttered sometimes.
The real in us silent; the acquired is talkative.
The voice of life in me cannot reach the ear of life in you; but let us talk that we may not feel lonely.
Only the dumb envy the talkative.
It takes two of us to discover truth: one to utter it and one to understand it.
How noble is the sad heart who would sing a joyous song with joyous hearts.
He who would understand a woman, or dissect genius, or solve the mystery of silence is the very man who would wake from a beautiful dream to sit at a breakfast table.
You owe more than gold to him who serves you. Give him of you heart or serve him.
Words are timeless. You should utter them or write them with a knowledge of their timelessness.
If I were to choose between the power of writing a poem and the ecstasy of a poem unwritten, I would choose the ecstasy. It is better poetry. But you and all my neighbors agree that I always choose badly.
Poetry is a deal of joy, and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.
Poetry is wisdom that enchants the heart. Wisdom is poetry that sings in the mind. If we could enchant man's heart and at the same time sing in his mind, Then in truth he would live in the shadow of God.
Inspiration will always sing; inspiration will never explain.
All our words are vie crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
Thinking is always the stumbling stone to poetry.
A madman is not less a musician than you or myself; only the instrument on which he plays is a little out of tune.
I have never agreed with my other self wholly. The truth of the matter seems to lie between us.
When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things, even in the eyes that are blind to beauty.
We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.
Many a woman borrows a man's heart; very few could possess it.
When a man's hand touches the hand of a woman they both touch the heart of eternity.
Every man loves two women; the one is the creation of his imagination, and the other is not yet born.
Men who do not forgive women their little faults will never enjoy their great virtues.
Love that does not renew itself every day becomes a habit and in turn a slavery.
Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms.
Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.
If you do not understand your friend under all conditions you will never understand him.
We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words.
Only great sorrow or great joy can reveal your truth. If you would be revealed you must either dance naked in the sun, or carry your cross.
You see but your shadow when you turn your back to the sun.
You are free before the sun of the day, and free before the stars of the night;
And you are free when there is no sun and no moon and no star.
You are even free when you close your eyes upon all there is.
But you are a slave to him whom you love because you love him,
And a slave to him who loves you because he loves you.
Generosity is not in giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is in giving me that which you need more than I do.
The difference between the riches man and the poorest is but a day of hunger and hour of thirst.
We often borrow from our tomorrows to pay our debts to our yesterdays.
After all this not a bad prison; but I do not like this wall between my cell and the next prisoner's cell; Yet I assure you that I do not wish to reproach the warden nor the Builder of the prison.
Those who give you a serpent when you ask for a fish, may have nothing but serpents to give. It is then generosity on their part.
Trickery succeeds sometimes, but it always commits suicide.
If your heart is a volcano how shall you expect flowers to bloom in your hands?
How often have I attributed to myself crimes I have never committed, so that the other person may feel comfortable in my presence.
You may judge others only according to your knowledge of yourself. Tell me now, who among us is guilty and who is unguilty?
The truly just is he who feels half guilty of your misdeeds.
Only an idiot and a genius break man-made laws, and they are the nearest to the heart of God.
I have no enemies, O God, but if I am to have an enemy Let his strength be equal to mine, that truth alone may be the victor.
Perhaps a man may commit suicide in self-defense.
The only one who has been unjust to me is the one to whose brother I have been unjust.
When you see a man led to prison say in your heart, "Mayhap he is escaping from a narrower prison."
And when you see a man drunken say in your heart, "Mayhap he sought escape from something still more unbeautiful."
Oftentimes I have hated in self-defense; but if I were stronger I would not have used such a weapon.
How stupid is he who would patch the hatred in his eyes with the smile of his lips.
Only those beneath me can envy or hate me. I have never been envied nor hated; I am above no one. Only those above me can praise or belittle me. I have never been praised nor belittled; I am below no one.
Your saying to me, "I do not understand you," is praise beyond my worth, and an insult you do not deserve.
Strange that you should pity the slow-footed and not the slow-minded, And the blind-eyed rather than the blind-hearted.
It is wiser for the lame not to break his crutches upon the head of his enemy.
How blind is he who gives you out of his pocket that he may take out of your heart.
We are all prisoners but some of us are in cells with windows and some without.
Strange that we all defend our wrongs with more vigor than we do our rights.
Should we all confess our sins to one another we would all laugh at one another for our lack of originality.
Should we all reveal our virtues we would also laugh for the same cause.
Government is an agreement between you and myself. You and myself are often wrong.
Crime is either another name of need or an aspect of a disease.
Is there a greater fault than being conscious of the other person's faults?
If the other person laughs at you, you can pity him; but if you laugh at him you may never forgive yourself. If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember. In truth the other person is your most sensitive self given another body.
It is the honor of the murdered that he is not the murderer.
The tribune of humanity is in its silent heart never its talkative mind.
They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; And I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.
I would be the least among men with dreams and the desire to fulfill them, rather than the greatest with no dreams and no desires.
The most pitiful among men is he who turns his dreams into silver and gold.
You cannot judge any man beyond your knowledge of him, and how small is your knowledge.
Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches; yet it sends our living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth.
The highest virtue here may be the least in another world.
If it were not for our conception of weights and measures we would stand in awe of the firefly as we do before the sun.
When you sing the hungry hear you with his stomach.
Death is not nearer to the aged than to the newborn; neither is life.
Mayhap a funeral among men is a wedding feast among the angels.
In truth we talk only to ourselves, but sometimes we talk loud enough that others may hear us.
The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.
Fame is the shadow of passion standing in the light.
A root is a flower that disdains fame.
The truly great man is he who would master no one, and who would be mastered by none.
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.
A bigot is a stone-deaf orator.
When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.
An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper.
If you can see only what light reveals and hear only what sound announces, Then in truth you do not see nor do you hear.
You cannot laugh and be unkind at the same time.
The nearest to my heart are a king without a kingdom and a poor man who does not know how to beg.
A shy failure is nobler than an immodest success.
It is the mind in us that yields to the laws made by us, but never the spirit in us.
A traveler am I and a navigator, and every day I discover a new region within my soul.
Birth and death are the two noblest expressions of bravery.
There lies a green field between the scholar and the poet; should the scholar cross it he becomes a wise man; should the poet cross it, he becomes a prophet.
He who listens to truth is not less than he who utters truth.
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.
In truth you owe naught to any man. You owe all to all men.
Wit is often a mask. If you tear it you will find either genius irritated or cleverness juggling.
Desire is half of life; indifference is half of death.
The bitterest thing in our today's sorrow is the memory of our yesterday's joy.
Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.
If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.
Strange that creatures without backbones have the hardest shells.
Some of our children are our justifications and some are but our regrets.
When you enjoy loving your neighbor it ceases to be a virtue.
You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.
There must be something strangely sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the sea.
What we long for and cannot attain is dearer than what we have already attained.
Should you sit upon a cloud you would not see the boundary line between one country and another, not the boundary stone between a farm and a farm. It is a pity you cannot sit upon a cloud.
Seven centuries ago seven white doves rose from a deep valley flying to the snow-white summit of the mountain. One of the seven men who watched the flight said, "I see a black spot on the wing of the seventh dove."
Today the people in that valley tell of seven black doves that flew to the summit of the snowy mountain.
It is misery if I stretch an empty hand to men and receive nothing; but it is hopelessness if I stretch a full hand and find none to receive.
Even the hands that make crowns of thorns are better than idle hands.
Every man is the descendant of every king and every slave that ever lived.
How shall my heart be unsealed unless it is broken.
Tolerance is love sick with the sickness of haughtiness.
To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.
Every thought I have imprisoned in expression I must free by my deeds.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.
Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolutions.
The lights of stars that were extinguished ages ago still reaches us. So it is with great men who died centuries ago, but still reach us with the radiations of their personalities.
If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work.
If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully.
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