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You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.


Kahil Gibran wrote these words in the early 1900’s.  They are just the first lines of a four stanza poem on the subject of Giving.   Though we all may not have heard these specific lines, we all have heard similar lines on the subject of  giving of our self vs.our material goods.


That is exactly what Gibran gave to us here even though at the time he himself may not have even been aware of it?   Through his gift of artistry in verse and sketch Gibran gave to the world so much of himself that his name has become synonymous with the words The Prophet; the title of the book from with these verses were taken.   His words on the subject of Giving continue:


There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.

And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;

They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.

Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.


A true artist gives more to the world then his or her art – they give of themselves like the breathe of the myrtle of which Gibran speaks.  Not unlike Gibran, Picasso gave of himself because to do so was not possible for him.  Picasso said it best in his lines, “Painting is stronger than me, it makes me do its bidding.”  The artist breathes the world in and transforms its bits and pieces into a new creation and in doing so becomes a new creation themselves.  Not to do so —in Gibran’s words:


You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”

The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.

They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.


“For to withhold is to perish” – those are strong words, but if we look into our actions and reactions in our everyday life do we not withhold somehow that artist within ourselves?  And by our withholding what internal conflicts are we stockpiling that may be later masked with self destructive behaviors?   We are all artists when it comes to giving, and in that giving through our creative process we find wings for our inner spirits voice to be heard.


The writing of the Prophet was directly influenced by Gibran’s meeting in 1911 with the then leader of the Baha’i’ Faith – Abdul baha.   Though Gibran himself was a Christian the gift he was given in that meeting was transformed into The Prophet and published in 1923 which has since been translated into 20 languages throughout the world.  At the time of his death in 1931 the New York Sun announced that “The Prophet is Dead.”  The work of art and the artist to the world were now of the same breath.  Perhaps the breath of the myrtle of which Gibran wrote.


For the complete version of  The Prophet by Kahil Gibran  go to:http://www.katsandogz.com/gibran.html