The Beauty of Death
By: Khalil Gibran
Part One: The Calling
Let me sleep, for my soul is intoxicated with love and Let me rest, for my spirit has had its bounty of days and nights; Light the candles and burn the incense around my bed, and scatter leaves of jasmine and roses over my body; Embalm my hair with frankincense and sprinkle my feet with perfume, and read what the hand of death has written on my forehead.
Let me rest in the arms of slumber, for my open eyes are tired; Let the silver stringed lyre quiver and soothe my spirit; Weave from the harp and lute a veil around my withering heart.
Sing of the past as you behold the dawn of hope in my eyes, for its magic meaning is a soft bed upon which my heart rests.
Dry your tears, my friends, and raise your heads as the flowers raise their crowns to greet the dawn. Look at the bride of death standing like a column of light between my bed and the infinite; Hold your breath and listen with me to the beckoning rustle of her white wings.
Come close and bid me farewell; Touch my eyes with smiling lips. Let the children grasp my hands with soft and rosy fingers; Let the ages place their veined hands upon my head and bless me; Let the angels come close and see the shadow of God in my eyes, and hear the echo of his will racing with my breath.
Part Two: The Ascending
I have passed a mountain peak and my soul is soaring in the firmament of complete and unbound freedom; I am far, far away, my companions, and the clouds are hiding the hills from my eyes. The valleys are becoming flooded with an ocean of silence, and the hands of oblivion are engulfing the roads and the houses; the prairies and fields are disappearing behind a white specter that looks like the spring cloud, yellow as the candlelight and red as the twilight.
The songs of the waves and the hymns of the streams are scattered, and the voices of the throngs reduced to silence; and I can hear naught but the music of eternity in exact harmony with the spirit's desires. I am cloaked in full whiteness; I am in comfort; I am in peace.
Part Three: The Remains
Unwrap me from this white linen shroud and clothe me with leaves of jasmine and lilies; Take my body from the ivory casket and let it rest upon pillows of orange blossoms. Lament me not, but sing songs of youth and joy; Shed not tears upon me, but sing of harvest and the winepress; utter no sigh of agony, but draw upon my face with your finger the symbol of Love and Joy. Disturb not the air's tranquility with chanting and requiems, but let your hearts sing with me the song of eternal life; Mourn me not with apparel of black, but dress in color and rejoice with me; Talk not of my departure with sighs in your hearts; Close your eyes and you will see me with you forevermore.
Place me upon clusters of leaves and carry me upon your friendly shoulders and walk slowly to the deserted forest. Take me not to the crowded burying ground lest my slumber be disrupted by the rattling of bones and skulls. Carry me to the cypress woods and dig my grave where violets and poppies grow not in the other's shadow;
Let my grave be deep so that the flood will not carry my bones to the open valley; Let my grace be wide, so that the twilight shadows will come and sit by me.
Take from me all earthly raiment and place me deep in my mother earth; and place me with care upon my mother's breast. Cover me with soft earth, and let each handful be mixed with seeds of jasmine, lilies and myrtle; and when they grow above me, and thrive on my body's element they will breathe the fragrance of my heart into space;
And reveal even to the sun the secret of my peace;
And sail with the breeze and comfort the wayfarer.
Leave me then, friends --‐ leave me and depart on mute feet, as the silence walks in the deserted valley;
Leave me to God and disperse yourselves slowly, as the almond and apple blossoms disperse under the vibration of God’s breeze. Go back to the joy of your dwellings and you will find there that which death cannot remove from you and me. Leave with peace, for what you see here is far away in meaning from the earthly world. Leave me in peace.
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