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Contents > Author > Kahlil Gibran > The Prophet 07 On Work 1883- 1931
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Kahlil Gibran
The Prophet 07 On Work
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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.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, "he who works
in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is nobler
than he who ploughs the soil.

And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness
of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet."

But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that
the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least
of all the blades of grass;

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song
made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that
you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take
alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that
feeds but half man's hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a
poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle
man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.


 

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