My Friend – Poem by Khalil Gibran
My friend, I am not what I seem. Seeming is but a garment I wear—a
care-woven garment that protects me from thy questionings and thee
from my negligence.
The “I” in me, my friend, dwells in the house of silence, and
therein it shall remain for ever more, unperceived, unapproachable.
I would not have thee believe in what I say nor trust in what I
do—for my words are naught but thy own thoughts in sound and my
deeds thy own hopes in action.
When thou sayest, “The wind bloweth eastward,” I say, “Aye it doth
blow eastward”; for I would not have thee know that my mind doth
not dwell upon the wind but upon the sea.
Thou canst not understand my seafaring thoughts, nor would I have
thee understand. I would be at sea alone.
When it is day with thee, my friend, it is night with me; yet even
then I speak of the noontide that dances upon the hills and of
the purple shadow that steals its way across the valley; for thou
canst not hear the songs of my darkness nor see my wings beating
against the stars—and I fain would not have thee hear or see. I
would be with night alone.
When thou ascendest to thy Heaven I descend to my Hell—even then
thou callest to me across the unbridgeable gulf, “My companion, my
comrade,” and I call back to thee, “My comrade, my companion”—for
I would not have thee see my Hell. The flame would burn thy eyesight
and the smoke would crowd thy nostrils. And I love my Hell too
well to have thee visit it. I would be in Hell alone.
Thou lovest Truth and Beauty and Righteousness; and I for thy sake
say it is well and seemly to love these things. But in my heart
I laught at thy love. Yet I would not have thee see my laughter.
I would laugh alone.
My friend, thou art good and cautious and wise; nay, thou art
perfect—and I, too, speak with thee wisely and cautiously. And
yet I am mad. But I mask my madness. I would be mad alone.
My friend, thou art not my friend, but how shall I make thee
understand? My path is not thy path, yet together we walk, hand