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A prophet has waited twelve years in a coastal town for the ship that will bear him back to his homeland, which he misses.

Why he is there, why he is waiting, how he knows what he knows, and who he is is a mystery. As he departs the townspeople gather to wish him well. A local seeress who knows him best asks him to share his wisdom so that it will endure for generations to come.

So, he reveals his wisdom on love, birth, marriage, children, pain, talking, pleasure, death any so much more.

It is a profound work, and here is his advice on marriage so you may judge for yourself:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Its not a little similar to the Tao Te Ching, where a border guard recognises Lao Tzu, and asks him to share his wisdom as he goes into exile. Written 2,500 years ago, and one of the most translated books in the world. The Tao contains many principles you can use in your everyday life, and if you're not thinking in ego based ways, your wisdom based thinking opens up..

If you like one book, you will love the other, so I recommend both. For the Tao, I recommend the Stephen Mitchell version.

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on May 28, 2016
My own, well thumbed, copy of this book has been a source of comfort at stressful times for more than thirty years. This fresh copy was sent as a gift to a new friend facing a difficult time. Gibran's masterpiece should have a place on anyone's bookshelf who is in difficulty or has suffered serious illness or loss.
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on July 4, 2004
If I have ever read a book that is timeless, other than the Word of God, it would have to be this one. Although I may not have agreed with every word written, so many of the words of wisdom within these pages brought peace and comfort to me.
I read this book many, many years ago. I quoted from it at times and thought of it often. The words seemed to wrap themselves around your heart and spring out in times of need. There are not many books that can stake that claim, and I have read many.
A classic in my opinion and a book that will never be outdated.
Recommended.
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on June 4, 2003
Khalil Gibran's The Prophet is a truly awe inspiring work of prosaic poetry. Despite being a native-born Arabic speaker, Gibran wrote The Prophet in English, ensuring that his powerful words lost nothing in translation.
The work's 28 short chapters recount the words of a prophet as he leaves his home to depart on a new journey. The words that flow from the prophet's mouth and onto the pages are philosophical and spiritual treatises on all aspects of life. Chapters discuss the range of human experiences and include discussions such as "On Friendship", "On Pain" and "On Death." What unites the 28 chapters is Gibran's thought provoking and probing literary style as Gibran's prophet invokes his listeners to live life to the fullest. The book is not overtly religious but every word and sentence is filled with a spiritual clarity.
The book is eminently quotable with every chapter providing a nugget of truth worthy of repeating. Amazingly, Gibran packs his masterpiece into less than 100 pages, making it a very quick and easy read. Readers will find themselves returning to The Prophet again and again to recapture the beauty of Gibran's words.
The Prophet, which Gibran himself recognized as his greatest masterpiece, is a timeless literary classic. Its truth has touched generations of readers and will undoubtedly continue to do so.
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on May 4, 2001
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is a book that has touched many people very deeply since it's publishing in 1923. It has been translated into more than twenty languages, and the American edition alone has sold more than four million copies. It is considered both by Gibran himself, and by the general public to be his literary masterpiece. The Story is about a prophet leaving a town, and as he leaves he imparts some of his knowledge to the towns people. Gibran himself was born in Lebanon in 1883. He was a poet, artist, and philosopher. His fame and influence has spread through the world, superceding linguistic and cultural barriers. His poetry has been translated into more than twenty languages, and his drawings and paintings have been distributed and showcased all around the world. In the last twenty years of his life he lived in the United States, and began to write in English. The book The Prophet was written during this time period. His words and pictures change the way that people look at life, and people find them to be an expression of the deepest impulses of man's heart and mind. The Prophet is about a man who is leaving a small town called Orphalese where he has made his home for the past twelve years. He has, for that time period, been waiting for a boat to take him back to the land of his youth. We are not told where that land is, only that he has been waiting to return there for twelve years. The entire book occurs on the date of his departure. As he is about to leave, the townsfolk stop him in the town and request that he tell them about certain things. He talks to them about life's lessons and imparts his wisdom to them. He is asked about giving, and he tells the people to give without recognition, because their reward is their own joy. He also talks about things like marriage, work, friendship and also love. He speaks about each, and more, describing the way that people should deal with each issue. This book is an interesting book. It is ninety-three pages of life's lessons set down in writing. These are words to live by, and tell others to live by. This book is certainly a book that everyone should read. Even if people don't agree with some of the beliefs, they should still read the book, if only to get their mind thinking about life, and it's many quandaries from a different perspective. This book is not unlike the musings of an aging man imparting his life's lessons to an audience of just about anyone whom he can gather to listen to him. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's lessons and stories are wise beyond the ages, and still hold up to be as true today as they were when Gibran wrote them in 1923. The lessons enumerated within this pages are lessons that one would hope were followed by the general population, and I know that if more people read this book, then the world as a whole might become a more easily survivable place.
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on August 29, 2012
"The Prophet" is one of my favorite classic books. I've previously owned vintage copies of this book. This illustrated version is a feast for the eyes and for the soul. The beautiful images bring to life the wisdom & poetry of Kahlil Gibran's words. Definitely a keeper for anyone who loves this book! Plus I got it on sale!
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on July 14, 2001
The Prophet is one of my all-time favorite books. Gibran's writing is ingenious and The Prophet has definitely earned it's place in the canon of spiritual classics and masterpieces of the 20th century. Unfortunately, the audiobook version does not live up to the original text. Sparer's reading is blase' at best: uninteresting, uninspired and uninspiring ... plain dull. He merely read the words but put no heart or soul into them. I whole-heartedly recommend the book to everyone but the audiobook, no....I was very disappointed; I couldn't even finish listening. I wish someone would resurrect the Richard Harris recording -- that one was excellent!
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on October 21, 1999
I received The Prophet as a gift during a very turbulent time in my life. At the time I felt as though I was simply drifting through life without every stopping to look at what I was passing. Yet as I began to read this masterpiece of literature, it was as if the starved child inside of me was again being fed. I would sit for long periods of time just reflecting upon Gibran's writing,and his inspiring words would reach my soul and satisfy it. His writing is so complex and yet he conveys his message in such a way that the simplest of minds could understand him. He searches for truth and righteousness and is successful in his quest. His words illustarte how just how great a gift life really is, and that we owe it to ourselves to seek happiness. A wise man once said something to the effect of, "Joy is to find eternity in an instant and the universe in a grain of sand." Some might say that this is impossible, but not I. For I have read the work of Kahil Gibran and his divine teachings have enlightened me. We can achieve harmony, however, it is won only through the search for the truth in our souls. If we seek goodness it will find us and our lives will be changed forever. The Prophet has put my soul at ease though my exterior may be in turmoil, and it will do the same for you. If you are lost I urge you with all my heart to turn to The Prophet, and in the words that compose it, you will find peace and salvation.
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on February 15, 1999
I was once given a record by my mother by Richard Harris which had this haunting picture on the face. At that time, I had no idea that there was a book of the same title. My mother gave this to me with the strange tone in her voice that she was preparing me for something special. I did not understand that at the time, but I thank her now for it.
Little did I know then that it would be a source of the greatest peace and happiness to me. I listened to it so often, I can still recall nearly all the words off the top of my head.
I had not thought anyone could think in such lucid wonderfulness, much less write in such a fashion. All my attempts at poetry throughout my life pale in comparison to the self-evident beauty found there.
I highly recommend getting the musical verison of the book, which is beautiful in a manner not often achieved by new New Age artists. When I read the book today, I still hear echoes of Richard Harris' voice in my mind. It took years for me to learn of the book, and my old record is too scratched to listen to anymore. It is still available on tape.
Richard Harris, my thanks to you for speaking aloud the wisdom of the book which serves as my life reference since the seventh grade.
Thanks to Kahlil Gibran for spending so much time to deliver us the simple humanity one can not often find in words.
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on February 1, 1999
This post isn't a review of The Prophet. The Prophet stands on its own merit and doesn't need a review from me. This post is a response to the one below from A Reader From Victoria, BC. It's been quite some time since I've read anything even remotely as pompous as the post from Victoria, BC. I suggest to our dear visitor from Canada that, when he/she finishes whatever wretched academic program he/she is so obviously attempting to complete, he/she is more than welcome to show Gibran how it's done up in Victoria. When a few million people list your writing among of the most significant ever put down on paper, then maybe you'll have some basis to support your ranting. Until then, I hope your psudo-intellectual analysis at least brings you the grades you're looking for in your poetry courses, because it's clear you haven't the slightest ability to feel the meaning in a poet's words. P.S. I thought academicians signed their work in the spirit of free and open criticism. Or am I just supposed to email everyone in Victoria?
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