A Tear and a Smile

By Khalil Gibran
Translated from the Arabic by Fadel Nabilsi

I will not exchange the sorrows of my heart for the happiness of people and I will not accept a change of my tears that encircle depression from my scars and become laughter.

I hope that my life remains a tear and a smile: a tear to purify my heart and to make me understand the secrets of life and it’s in advance, and a smile to move me near my children and my newness and to be a symbol of my godly glorification.
A tear to unite my repentant heart and a smile to be the title of my happiness and my presence.

I want to die in honor and not live tediously.

I want in the depths of myself a hunger for love and beauty for I have seen those who are satisfied the most wretched of people.
So I haven’t heard the size of those yearning and longing and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.

Evening comes and the flower folds her petals and she sleeps embracing her desires, and with the coming of the morning she opens up her lips to accept the sun’s kiss, for the life of the flower is desire and sex, a tear and a smile.

The water of the ocean evaporates and increases and gathers and becomes a cloud, and moves above al tilaal wa al awadia, above hills and valleys, even if it doesn’t bring kind breezes that collapse the remainder of the encompassing fields, and join the flow and return to the ocean, their homeland.
The life of the clouds is separation and encounter, a tear and a smile.

The self is like this, it splits from the greater soul and moves to the material world, and it passes like a cloud over the mountain of sorrow, in the plains of happiness, for it meets with the breeze of death. For it returns to how it was: to the ocean of love and beauty, to God.

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