A poem (says me) about diminished expectations

Gibran.jpgI recently finished another project at work in which my grand intentions and clever plans came face to face with reality. As expected, reality won.

The project is still strong, but wow, what it could have been!

Which brings me to this week’s poem, it’s by Lebanese writer and thinker Kahlil Gibran, best known for “The Prophet,” which is likely on your bookshelf, a gift  from  a well-meaning friend or relative, and just as likely unread.

I must say “The Prophet” turned me off from Gibran, though it’s probably not his fault. It could just be that when I read it, I was cranky and, when I finished, I thought “Is that it?” I’ve never read it again. I suggested the book to one of my sons, a non-reader but a lover of philosophy, who did not like it either. He was also 15 at the time. I really should try again.

I also own a collection of Gibran’s short stories (several of which I’ve read, but can’t remember) and a book of parables and poems called “The Madman.”

This book is full of short, beautifully written pieces. Sometimes they evoke a sigh and a vague feeling that I just learned something. Others bring forth a confused “huh?” Gibran would have been 35 when it was published in 1918 and shows the deep spiritual yearning and understanding of the man who would publish “The Prophet”  five years later.

I’m glad I found this book for no other reason (though there are many) than the poem I include below. I don’t even know that it’s a poem, but it feels like one. I’m not even sure what it’s about: Is it, as I write above, about the place where dreams and reality collide?Or is it about what happens when a person misses an opportunity? It may be about a person who settles and could also be about a person who finally understands who he is. Who’s to say; maybe it’s all of the above.

Anyway, I think of it often, including today, when I had to finally accept that I had to go with Plan B through no fault of my own.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

The Fox

A fox looked at his shadow at sunrise and said, “I will have a camel for lunch today.” And all morning he went about looking for camels. But at noon he saw his shadow again—and he said, “A mouse will do.”

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