“Be Still, My Heart”

Be still, my heart, and attend unto my words, writes Kahlil Gibran. It was but yesterday that my soul was a tree, blooming in spring and bearing fruit in summer. 

When autumn comes, he gathers the fruits of his soul-tree and places them on silver trays at the crossroads, and the passersby reach for the fruit and eat it and walk away. 

At the onset of winter, he retrieves his trays and finds just one single fruit left: 

And when I tasted, I found it bitter as aloes and sour as a green grape. 

Scandalized, he says to himself: 

“Woe unto me, for I have placed a curse upon the lips of men, and hostility in their bowels.” 

Whereupon he uproots his tree and plants it in another place, watering it with his tears and blood. When autumn comes again, he gathers the ripe fruit once more, and places them on gold trays at the crossroads. 

But no one reached to take of the fruit, which this time, when he tries it, is as sweet as honey, as luscious as nectar, perfumed as the breath of jasmine, and mellow as the wine of Babylon. 

From which he concludes: Men do not desire blessedness upon their lips, nor truth in their bowels

Now, that may be, but to my mind another thought immediately springs: That, perhaps, having tasted the fruit on the silver trays last year, they didn’t feel the need to try any more. ■