The Whispering Hours
For those of you who don't know or who have forgotten, The Prophet is a book of 26 poetic essays written in English in 1923 by the Lebanese-born American artist, philosopher and writer Khalil Gibran.
In the book, the prophet Almustafa, who has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years, is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses many issues of life and the human condition.
The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.
I opened the section on work.
Then a ploughman said, "Speak to us of Work."
And he answered, saying:
You work that you may keep pace with the earth
and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,
and to step out of life's procession,
that marches in majesty
and proud submission towards the infinite.
When you work you are a flute through whose heart
the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent,
when all else sings together in unison?
Always you have been told that work is a curse
and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work
you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream,
assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour
you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour
is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.
But if you in your pain call birth an affliction
and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow,
then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow
shall wash away that which is written.
You have been told also life is darkness,
and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching."
I have always loved working.
It is, after all, your work.
But many of us who have to work
must do work
that does not keep pace with the earth
and the soul of the earth.
Many of us can't wait till Friday,
even though it is frightfully close to Monday.
Many of us labor in the bowels of the beast,
where we have been chewed and stewed,
in the corporate con of consumerism.
Some day, once we truly begin to deal with climate change
and resource depletion,
Work will again become a blessing and perhaps an honor.
Our Work will once again arise as the flute
through whose heart
the whispering of the hours
turns to music.
What it is About
Earthfamilyalpha Content III
Earthfamilyalpha Content II