Giving by Khalil Gibran

This is another poem which was dedicated to me by my friend Eddie. Its called ‘Giving’.

You give but little
when you give
of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself
that you truly give.
For what are your possessions
but things you keep and guard
for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow,
what shall tomorrow bring
to the overprudent dog
burying bones in the trackless sand
as he follows the pilgrims
to the holy city?
And what is fear of need
but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst
when your well is full,
the thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those
who give little
of the much
which they have–
and they give it for
and their hidden desire
makes their gifts
And there are those
who have little
and give it all.
These are the believers in life
and the bounty of life,
and their coffer
is never empty.
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.
It is well to give when asked,
but it is better to give unasked,
through understanding;
And to the open-handed
the search for one
who shall receive
is joy greater than giving.
And is there
aught you would withhold?
All you have
shall some day be given;
Therefore give now,
that the season of giving
may be yours
and not your inheritors’.
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.
Surely he who is worthy
to receive his days
and his nights,
is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink
from the ocean of life
deserves to fill his cup
from your little stream.
And what desert greater
shall there be,
than that which lies
in the courage
and the confidence,
nay the charity,
of receiving?
And who are you
that men should rend their bosom
and unveil their pride,
that you may see their worth naked
and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve
to be a giver,
and an instrument of giving.
For in truth
it is life
that gives unto life
while you,
who deem yourself a giver,
are but a witness.
And you receivers…
and you are all receivers…
assume no weight of gratitude,
lest you lay a yoke
upon yourself
and upon him
who gives.
Rather rise together
with the giver
on his gifts
as on wings;
For to be overmindful
of your debt,
is to doubt
his generosity
who has the freehearted earth
for mother,
and God
for father

khalil gibran


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