Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kahlil Gibran, "On Squirrels"

Just recently, an early version of Kahlil Gibran's classic, The Prophet, was found in the attic of an abandoned house in California. What was interesting about this version was that it had an added chapter, hand written and wedged in the center of the book. This chapter had never been published. It was as if Kahlil held back, not sure if the world was ready for this esoteric knowledge. Here's a reprint:

"And an old woman with a young squirrel perched on her shoulder said,
Speak to us of Squirrels.
And he said,
Your squirrels are not your squirrels. They are the sons and daughters
of life's longing for itself.
They come to you but not from you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have no thoughts.
You may feed them nuts, but bury not their nuts,
For only their's is the wisdom of nut-burying.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the tree of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.
And let your best be for your squirrel.
For he is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
Your squirrel is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger
and you seek him for peace.
When you part from your squirrel, grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence,
as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in squirrelship
but the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery
is not love but a net cast forth:
and only the unprofitable is caught.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
And think not that you can direct the course of the squirrel,
For the squirrel, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
And in the sweetness of squirrelship let there joy
and the sharing of nuts.
For it is in the laughter of little squirrels
that the heart finds its morning and is refreshed!"

-from the 31st printing, January 1934