The Broken Wings of Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran’s “The Broken Wings” isn’t for my appreciation. In fact, he has acknowledged in his book that the story is not for everyone. However, I disagree with the reason he forwarded. He said,

“Those whom Love has not given wings cannot fly behind the cloud of appearances to see the magic world in which Selma’s spirit and mine existed together in that sorrowfully happy hour. Those whom Love has not chosen as followers do not hear when Love calls. This story is not for them.”

Yes, this story is not for me but who is to say who are those or who are not “those whom love has given wings”?  People involved in tragic love stories do not have the monopoly “to see the magic world”. In fact, tragic love stories are not necessarily the best love stories. Literature has first introduced us to the most tragic love story of all times, Romeo and Juliet, that some of us may be drawn towards this similar plot of crying hearts. Bravely, let me go out of this established plot. The intensity of emotions between two people in love should not be judged by the degree of tragedy they face. While it is admirable for two people to sustain their love in the midst of tragic circumstances, it doesn’t follow that those who do not face the same are made of lesser intensity. The worse conclusion would be that their capacity to love is less than those under less favorable conditions.

The flowery words descriptive of the emotions in “The Broken Wings” have further drawn me away from appreciating it. Why then do I take the time to write about this book?

There are two particular insights that caught me.

“It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created in years or even generations”.

While my personal experience speaks of a persevering and nurturing 8-year relationship before marriage, I fully agree with Kahlil Gibran that “Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity” and that the affinity should be “created in a moment” otherwise the length of years cannot gain what was never established.

In Kahlil Gibran’s sadness that the love of his life was forced by society to marry another man, he said:

“The woman of yesterday was a happy wife, but the woman of today is a miserable mistress. In the past she walked blindly in the light, but now she walks open-eyed in the dark. She was beautiful in her ignorance, virtuous in her simplicity, and strong in her weakness. Today she has become ugly in her ingenuity, superficial and heartless in her knowledge. Will the day ever come when beauty and knowledge, ingenuity and virtue, and weakness of body and strength of spirit will be united in a woman?”

While I agree that this was the general state of women before the twenty-first century, I would like to think that most societies in this age welcome with open arms and admiration women who has “beauty and knowledge, ingenuity and virtue” and possess “weakness of body and strength of spirit”. A lot of admirable… and good-looking women, if I may add, has captured headlines and made significant achievements that it is hard to think that the reality Gibran faced still stands today.

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