Love #48: Half a Life


In the half-life of the evening, sunlight touches us with a fantastic array of colors that dazzle and change with every heartbeat. Kahlil Gibran, born in 1883 in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, is today remembered as a consummate writer of love letters and exquisite poetry. He died mid-life in the USA and is recognized, in part, for romancing his patron Mary Haskell.

"You have the great gift of understanding, beloved Mary. You are a life-giver, Mary. You are like the Great Spirit, who befriends man not only to share his life, but to add to it. My knowing you is the greatest thing in my days and nights, a miracle quite outside the natural order of things. I have always held, with my Madman, that those who understand us enslave something in us. It is not so with you. Your understanding of me is the most peaceful freedom I have known."

But Mary did not return the love that enslaved him and remained unconsummated. Her family and her perception of age denied his objective. Instead, she stayed patron and promoter to the young writer.

Despite his protestations to her, his poetry betrays his misgivings:

"Do not love half lovers
Do not entertain half friends
Do not indulge in works of the half talented
Do not live half a life
and do not die a half death..."


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