, Kahlil Gibran. The best-selling poet after Shakespeare and Laozi, Gibran was born in Lebanon to a Maronite family before emigrating to the United States of America in 1895 at the age of 12. His works infuse the traditions of the Syriac Maronite Church as well as the mysticism of Sufism, and while critical acclaim did not follow The Prophet (26 verses of poetic prose) on its publication in 1923, popular acclaim did, and continues to do so–it has yet to be out of print since its original publication in the United States of America. Also a gifted artist (he illustrated his own works), Gibran died on this date in 1931 at the age of 48. Here’s one of his poems worth remembering:
“Pity the Nation” (composed c. 1912, published 1933)
Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave and eats a bread it does not harvest.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream, yet submits in its awakening.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice save when it walks in a funeral, boasts not except among its ruins, and will rebel not save when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.
Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking
Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, and farewells him with hooting, only to welcome another with trumpeting again.
Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strongmen are yet in the cradle.
Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.
Stamp details: Stamp on top: Issued on: April 10, 1971 From: Beirut, Lebanon MC #1129
Middle stamps: Issued on: December 19, 1983 From: Beirut, Lebanon MC #BL43
Stamps on bottom: Issued on: April 30, 2008 From: Beirut, Lebanon MC #BL53