Treasure Island

Khalil Gibran

(January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931 / Bsharri)

Joy and Sorrow chapter VIII


Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Jaime Mackey (3/18/2013 11:23:00 AM)

    Wow, beautiful. That is all I can say about this poem. The man is a philosopher, a deep thinker, that with imagery relays his messages to others easing their burdens with the soft tones of his words and style, with accepting life, the good and bad as it comes, as inevitable and both for the greater good. (Report) Reply

  • Daphne Grant (2/20/2007 4:51:00 PM)

    Very true I think. beside every joy as in love: if love were to flee, the lies the sorrow, of wanting that, that could not be, . (Report) Reply

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