The two sides of a moment

Kahlil Gibran (by F. Holland Day)

I’ll never forget the first time I read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. I was about 13 years old at boarding school in Johannesburg, and as I walked into our shared dormitory I saw one of my roommates, Nomi (who’s now a star incidentally!), reading a little book. I was of course curios. She said it was so wonderful that no matter where you opened it, you would be blown away. So I accepted her challenge and dubiously flipped her copy open to a random page and started reading. Well, she was right on.

This poem comes from his 1918 collection, The Madman: His Parables and Poems (public library)

Said a Blade of Grass

Kahlil Gibran

Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling!  You scatter all my winter dreams.”

Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling!  Songless, peevish thing!  You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.”

Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept.  And when spring came she waked again—and she was a blade of grass.

And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves!  They make such noise!  They scatter all my winter dreams.”

No matter how good or even how bad our life situation may feel at any given point, we can just as easily be on the other side. It’s so easy to grow impatient with the slow-azz driver in front of us when we’re late. But another day, it might be us – slightly lost in a new area maybe, or a little hesitant of where the indicator is on our rental car.

Another day, an opposite story awaits. We are all just doing the best with what we have.

I wanted to write about this after reading Maria Popova’s post on the piece. It’s of course far more eloquent – check it out. I absolutely love all her writing.

Leave a Reply