Paintings and Poetry at the Khalil Gibran museum in Lebanon
In some ways this story is more about words than pictures, or is it more pictures than words? for it’s about the American-Lebanese poet and painter, Khalil Gibran whose museum and last resting place at Bcharre I visited on my visit to Lebanon.
You may not have heard of Khalil Gibran, but you have probably heard his poetry even though you don’t realise it. It’s that brand of spiritual wisdom that twangs the emotional chords and touches the heart, although the sceptic in you may find it a little cheesy and say ‘is life really so simple?’ Gibran’s most famous work is The Prophet, the story of a wise man about to leave his home country, who before he leaves is asked by his followers to give them the benefit of his wisdom on subjects of life, love, death and everything in between. These qotations from The Prophet will give you the flavour.
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.
I visited the museum with a friend on our mini road trip around Lebanon, having driven north from Beirut, inland through the Quadisha valley and up towards the high pass over the Mt Lebanon. We stopped at Bcharre, high up on the side of a valley with fantastic views. With roses blooming on the terrace of the museum, it was easy to see why Khalil Gibran chose to return to Lebanon after emigrating as a child to America and requested this former monastery as his final resting place.
Khalil Gibran on children from the Prophet;
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
The museum brings home that Gibran was as much a painter as a writer and poet and he studied art in Paris in 1908 under Auguste Rodin. At the museum you’ll find a large collection of Gibran’s paintings and drawings housed in a series of small gallery rooms that lead from one to another on different levels until you reach the former monastery chapel where Gibran’s casket was placed along with some of his favourite posessions. There’s also a small shop on the way out to buy postcards and books about Khalil Gibran’s work.
khalil Gibran on joy and sorrow from The Prophet;
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain
After our visit to the Museum, my friend and I had lunch at a cafe beneath a waterfall overlooking the valley then continued on our way over the snowline on Mt Lebanon and down into the Bekaa valley beyond. If you enjoy the poetry of the Prophet and want to read more of the wisdom you can find it here.
Do tell me whether you find Khalil Gibran’s poetry cheesy or heart warming?
This article is posted as part of Photo Friday over at Delicious Baby – head over to see all the other Friday photos.