Peace and Love
Three dogs were basking in the sun and conversing. The first dog said dreamily, “It is indeed wondrous to be living in this day of dogdom. Consider the ease with which we travel under the sea, upon the earth and even in the sky. And meditate for a moment upon the inventions brought forth for the comfort of dogs, even for our eyes and ears and noses.”
And the second dog spoke and he said, “We are more heedful of the arts. We bark at the moon more rhythmically than did our forefathers. And when we gaze at ourselves in the water we see that our features are clearer than the features of yesterday.”
Then the third dog spoke and said, “But what interests me most and beguiles my mind is the tranquil understanding existing between dogdoms.”
At that very moment they looked, and lo, the dog-catcher was approaching.
The three dogs sprang up and scampered down the street; and as they ran the third dog said, “For God’s sake, run for your lives. Civilization is after us.
One branch in bloom said to his neighbouring branch, “This is a dull and empty day.” And the other branch answered, “It is indeed empty and dull.” At that moment a sparrow alighted on one of the branches, and the another sparrow, nearby.
And one of the sparrows chirped and said, “My mate has left me.”
And the other sparrow cried, “My mate has also gone, and she will not return. And what care I?
Then the two birds began to twitter and scold, and soon they were fighting and making harsh noise upon the air. All of a sudden two other sparrows came sailing from the sky, and they sat quietly beside the restless two. And there was calm, and there was peace.
Then the four flew away together in pairs.
And the first branch said to his neighbouring branch, “That was a mighty zig-zag of sound.”
And the other branch answered, “Call it what you will, it is now both peaceful and spacious. And if the upper air makes peace it seems to me that those who dwell in the lower might make peace also. Will you not wave in the wind a little nearer to me?”
And the first branch said, “Oh, perchance, for peace’ sake, ere the Spring is over.”
And then he waved himself with the strong wind to embrace her.
The tempest calmed after bending the branches of the trees and leaning heavily upon the grain in the field. The stars appeared as broken remnants of lightning, but now silence prevailed over all, as if Nature’s war had never been fought.
At that hour a young woman entered her chamber and knelt by her bed sobbing bitterly. Her heart flamed with agony but she could finally open her lips and say, “Oh Lord, bring him home safely to me. I have exhausted my tears and can offer no more, oh Lord, full of love and mercy. My patience is drained and calamity is seeking possession of my heart. Save him, oh Lord, from the iron paws of War; deliver him from such unmerciful Death, for he is weak, governed by the strong. Oh Lord, save my beloved, who is Thine own son, from the foe, who is Thy foe. Keep him from the forced pathway to Death’s door; let him see me, or come and take me to him.”
Quietly a young man entered. His head was wrapped in bandage soaked with escaping life.
He approached he with a greeting of tears and laughter, then took her hand and placed against it his flaming lips. And with a voice with bespoke past sorrow, and joy of union, and uncertainty of her reaction, he said, “Fear me not, for I am the object of your plea. Be glad, for Peace has carried me back safely to you, and humanity has restored what greed essayed to take from us. Be not sad, but smile, my beloved. Do not express bewilderment, for Love has power that dispels Death; charm that conquers the enemy. I am your one. Think me not a spectre emerging from the House of Death to visit your Home of Beauty.
“Do not be frightened, for I am now Truth, spared from swords and fire to reveal to the people the triumph of Love over War. I am Word uttering introduction to the play of happiness and peace.”
Then the young man became speechless and his tears spoke the language of the heart; and the angels of Joy hovered about that dwelling, and the two hearts restored the singleness which had been taken from them.
At dawn the two stood in the middle of the field contemplating the beauty of Nature injured by the tempest. After a deep and comforting silence, the soldier said to his sweetheart, “Look at the Darkness, giving birth to the Sun.”
Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) was a Lebanese American artist, poet and writer. His best-known work is The Prophet, the second bestselling book of the twentieth century in the United States after the Bible.