The Kahlil Gibran Collective

The Artist The Poet The Man

5 Jun 2021     Glen Kalem

A Personal Poetic Prose Memoir on Myriam of Lebanon

By Richard Mc Sweeney of Ireland 
© 2 June 2020 RMcS
Forward by  Glen Kalem-Habib 
When I first met Richard Mc Sweeney of Ireland at an International Conference on Kahlil Gibran held in Beirut in April 2006, I remember connecting with the 'other' guy who spoke a 'funny' kind of English. Me, the Australian, and he being Irish, we perhaps found ourselves as kindred 'mates' in amongst the cocktail of spoken languages,  Lebanese-Arabic, French and American English to name a few. You could say we not only stood out from the crowd, we most definitely sounded different as well. I often looked over towards Richard during the conference, who seemed so transfixed on each speaker, which has to be said; was mainly talking in Arabic! I found myself captivated by his intent listening, and the sheer respect he gave each loquacious speaker who most often was presenting old worn out, regurgitated stories about their beloved Gibran. So when Richard finally got the opportunity to deliver his talk on his new book, Myriam of Lebanon, there was for me a welcomed shift in focus, not just because of the subject matter, but I think it had more to do with Richard's spirit.  

Richard‘s, Myriam of Lebanon came with the belief that a woman's word, could be more effective in bringing about a measured change, and even more affectionately, received by the peoples of the world, than say a man's.  Broadly speaking, it asks the question; What if Gibran’s, Almustfa (man) was a woman (Myriam)? Would her message be delivered with the same depth, intelligence and wisdom, as her male counterpart? 

So, it came to be, Richard’s 'Myriam' was born. Cast as a Lebanese protagonist, she would ultimately play the part of a philosopher-poetess from the Phoenician port city of Byblos of the land of Lebanon, who visits the isle of Eire (Ireland) to impart her profound wisdom.

It gives me great pleasure to present an exclusive memoir of this unique work prepared by Richard himself. I highly recommend reading the entire book Myriam of Lebanon and the many other works from this 'self-originating Irish Philosopher'  and friend. 
- Richard's books can be purchase via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Mc-Sweeney/e/B0048GF2HI 
Richard McSweeneyRichard McSweeney  
The memoir was very kindly suggested to me by my dear friend: Gabranian research-historian, Glen Kalem-Habib. It is an exclusive for the Kahlil Gibran Collective website. From Gibran Khalil Gibran of Lebanon could I get to know Almustafa of Lebanon; from Almustafa, Myriam of Lebanon and from Myriam selves of myself. Welcome! Richard Mc Sweeney 

 

“The Qadisha valley-spirit of Lubnan Mountain ever lives in inspiration; 

inspiration’s gateway being the issuer forth of ideas

that nourish the needs of the times that be.

Subtle she is almost like as if she were making no effort at all.

Yet be she is most assuredly.

Only those who lend themselves to patiently and reverently

standing in dawns and twilights can begin to appreciate

her profound generosity.”

 

Myriam of Lebanon by Richard Mc Sweeney Myriam of Lebanon by Richard Mc Sweeney

Memoir of Myriam of Lebanon

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will still follow when love beckons to me to follow though love’s ways are hard and steep; Will still yield when love’s wings enfold me though love’s hailstones hidden in love’s summer showers may wound me; Will still believe in love when love speaks to me though love’s voice at times may shatter my dreams as the north wind lays waste a garden; Will concur that love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself; Will accept that love possesses not nor would it be possessed for love is sufficient unto love; Will when I describe how I love my love say: my love is in my heart for my love and my love is in my love’s heart; Will be of the opinion that I cannot direct the course of my love for my love rather that if love finds my love and me worthy it will direct our course; Will believe that love has no other desire but to fulfil itself; Will desire to have my love for my love to melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night; Will desire to have my love for my love know the pain of too much tenderness;

Will desire to have my love for my love be wounded by my own understanding of love and to have it yield willingly and joyfully; Will desire to have my love for my love wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving and to rest at noon hour to meditate love’s ecstasy and at eventide to return home with gratitude and then to sleep with my love with a prayer for the love in our hearts and the song of praise upon our lips.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will say of each other that we were born together and that together we shall be for evermore; Will say of each other that we shall be together when the white wings of our death will scatter our days; Will say of each other that we shall be together even in our silent memories of one another; Will like there to be spaces in our togetherness for us to have an assortment of opposing contradictory alternative thoughts ideas and opinions; Will be able to let our opinions exist but for a moment; have them be like breezes of the sky momentarily dancing between us; Will be willing to love one another but to make not a bond: an obligation of it; Will like our love for each other to be as a sea between the shores of our senses; Will like we to first fill each other’s glasses rather than first fill our own; Will like on occasion for we both to sip from the same cup or to drink from two different cups; Will like for we to first give one another from the bread loaf rather than first take from it for self; Will like for we both on occasion to nibble of the same pastry or to eat of two different pastries; Will like for we to sing and dance together and be joyous while letting both of us be alone as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music; Will like we to give each other’s hearts into each other’s keeping while being full aware that only Beloved Existence can contain our hearts; Will like we to stand together yet not too near together or stand apart from each other as do the pillars in our buildings stand apart from each other and as do the cedar and the oak trees grow not in each other’s shadow.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will say our children are our children while at the same time acknowledging that they as we are the beloved sons and daughters of Beloved Existence’s as it were longing for Itself; Will say our children come both from us and through us; Will say that though our children are with us yet they are not of our possession; Will agree that we may give them of our love and share with them of our thoughts while realising that they will have their own expressions of love and their own fashioned thoughts; Will agree that we may house their bodies but not their hearts for their hearts dwell in their house of tomorrow which we cannot visit not even in our dreams; Will be of the opinion that we may strive to be like them but to have ourselves seek not to make them like us; Will agree that our life and theirs goes not backward nor tarries with our or their yesterdays; Will like to think of ourselves as a rainbow from which our children as living arrows are sent forth into the world; into the future; Will like to think that the imaginary archer that draws we the rainbow sees a mark upon the path of the infinite and bends us so with

might that the arrows: our children may go swift and far into the many tomorrows which await their arrival; Will let our bending in the archer’s beloved hand be for our gratitude and joy for even as the archer loves the arrows that fly so loves also the rainbow we that is stable.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will say I give but little when I give of my possessions; Will say it is when I give of myself that I truly give; Will say my possessions are but things I keep and guard for fear I may need them tomorrow; Will be of the thought that tomorrow will bring something special to the over prudent dogfish burying bones in the trackless waters as it follows the pilgrims to their holy places; Will say my fear of need is but a need itself; Will agree that my dread of thirst when my well is full is a thirst that is unquenchable; Will share the opinion that there are those who give little of the much which they have and that they give it for recognition and that that hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome; Will agree that there are those who have little and give it all; Will say they are the believers in life and the bounty of life and that their wellspring never runs dry; Will say there are those who give with joy and that that joy is their reward; Will say there are those who give with pain and that that pain is their blessing; Will say there are those who give and know not the pain in giving nor do they seek the joy nor do they give with mindfulness of virtue rather that they give as in yonder valley the lily breathing its fragrancy into space; Will agree that through the hands of such as these Beloved Existence as it were speaks and that from behind their eyes It as it were smiles upon Its Earth; Will say it is well to give when asked but that it is better to give unasked through understanding; Will agree that to the openhanded the search for one who shall receive is a joy greater than giving; Will agree that there is aught we should withhold as all we have shall someday be given; Will open to the view that I should give now: generously give now that the pleasure of giving may not be my inheritors’ alone but mine too; Will have no need to be saying: “I will give; yes, but only to the deserving.”; Will agree that the trees in the orchards or the flocks in the pastures would not be saying as me: “We will give; yes, but only to the deserving.”; Will say the trees in the orchards and the flocks in the pastures give that they may live for to withhold would be to perish; Will share the opinion that as surely as anyone is worthy to be receiving their days and nights is worthy of all else from me; Will agree that anyone who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill their cup from my meandering rivulet; Will accept that there may be no desert greater than that which lies in the courage and confidence nay in the charity of receiving; Will though seriously wonder if I am virtuous enough that others should rend their bosom and unveil their pride to me that I may see their worth undressed and their pride unabashed; Will accept that I first would need to see that I myself deserve to be a giver and a medium of giving; Will agree that in truth it is Beloved Existence that gives unto Itself while I who deem myself a giver am but a witness;

Will accept that I as a receiver need to assume no weight of gratitude lest I lay a harness upon myself and upon they who give; Will accept that it would be better for me rather to rise together with the givers on their gifts as on wings for to be over mindful of my debt to them would be to doubt their generosity who have as me the openhanded Heavens for mother and the freehearted Earth for father.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will like to live but on the fragrancies of the Earth and like an air plant be sustained by the light of the sun the moon and the stars; Will say it is not paramount we continue to deprive other living forms of their full length of life; life forms such as the herds of the fields and the flocks of the pastures and the fishes of the waters in order for us to continue to live and survive; Will say it is not paramount we continue to deprive other living forms of their full length of life; life forms such as plants of numerous kinds in order to nourish our bodies and quench our thirst; Will say that our depriving of other living forms of their full length of life for our sustenance ought to be an act of respect and gratitude in which upon our humble tables are placed modest baskets and vessels filled with the blessings of the rivers the seas the forests the meadows and the air; Will be of the opinion that a time is coming when no longer we will feel the need to be depriving and taking from life and that that welcome day of purity and innocence will soon be with us; Will when partaking of the rains and dews be willing to say to them in my heart: “Your droplets shall live in my body and your mists of your tomorrows shall float in my heart and your fragrancy shall be my breath and together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”; Will in autumn days when I gather the golden wheat of the fields for the flower mills and the fresh fruits of the trees for the pantries be willing to say to them in my heart: “I too am Beloved Existence’s field and tree and my grains and my fruit shall be gathered for Its flower mills and Its pantries and like Its rich fruitcakes I shall be kept fresh in Its eternal cupboards.”; Will when with passing through the winter solstice as is a custom we come to slice fresh fruitcakes be willing to let there be in my heart a joyful song for each savouring bite and in my song be willing to let there be the remembrance for the autumn days the golden wheat fields the bountiful fruit trees and for the fragrancies of the flower mills and the pantries.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon, I will agree I work that I may keep pace with the Earth and the essence of the Earth; Will share the opinion that to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons and to step out of life’s procession that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite; Will agree that when I work I am a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music; Will not be comfortable with just having myself be a reed: a dumb and silent instrument when all else sings together in unison; Will not share the point of view that says work is a curse and labour a misfortune; Will agree that when I work I fulfil my part of Earth’s furthest dream assigned to me when that dream was born; Will agree that keeping

myself with labour: with work I am in truth loving life; Will agree that to love life through work is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret; Will share the opinion that if in my pain I were to call birth my affliction and my support of my flesh a curse written upon my brow then that naught but the sweat of my brow shall wash away that which is there written; Will agree that I might have also been told at times; even inadvertently overheard that life is darkness and in my weariness I echoed what was said by the weary; Will agree that life is indeed darkness save when there is yearning and that all yearning is blind save when there is knowledge and that all knowledge is useless save when there is wisdom gained; Will agree that all my knowledge and wisdom is vain save when there is my work; Will accept that all my work is empty save when it is done with love; Will agree that when I work with love I bind myself to myself and to others and to Beloved Existence; Will say that it is indeed possible to work with love; Will say to work with love will be to weave the cloth with threads drawn from my heart even as if it were my beloved were to wear that cloth; Will say to work with love will be to build my house with affection even as if it were my beloved were to dwell in that house; Will say to work with love will be to sow the seeds in the fields with tenderness and to reap the harvest with joy even as if it were my beloved were to eat the produce; Will say to work with love will be to charge all things I fashion with the breath of my own spirit; Will say to work with love will be to know that all my blessed departed ones are about me and looking most favourably upon me; Will not share the view that they who work in marble and find the shape of their own essence therein are somehow nobler than they who plough the soil; Will not share the view that those who seize a rainbow to lay it on their canvases in a likeness of themselves are somehow more gifted than they who fashion my sandals; Will agree that the wind stream speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the humblest blades of grass; Will share the point of view that they alone are great who turn the voice of the wind stream into a song made sweeter by its own loving; Will agree that my work is my love made visible; Will say that if I cannot work with love but only with distaste that it would be better that I should leave the work and go sit in some archway and there to accept alms from those who work with gratitude and joy; Will accept that if I grudge the grinding of grains my grudge distils a poison of a sort in the flower; Will accept that if I bake bread with indifference I bake bitter bread that feeds but half the hunger of those who sit at my board; Will accept that if I sing though as a songbird and love not my singing I do but muffle my ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon, I will say my joy is my sorrow unmasked; Will agree that the selfsame well from which my laughter rises is oftentimes filled with my tears; Will agree that my sorrow’s depths are my joy’s waterways as are my ravines among the ancient hills; Will accept that the bowl that holds my soup is the very bowl that was fired in the potter’s kiln; Will accept that the lute that soothes my

spirit is the very wood that was hollowed with augers; Will share the view that were I when I am joyous to look deep into my heart that I would find it is only that which has given me my sorrow that is now giving me my joy; Will share the view too that were I when I am sorrowful to look deep into my heart that I would find that in truth I am weeping for that which has been my delight; Will neither say that my joy is greater than my sorrow nor that my sorrow is greater than my joy; Will share the possible view that my joy and my sorrow are inseparable: that together they come and go and that when one sits alone with me at my table to be mindful that its companion is asleep upon my bed; Will agree that verily I am suspended like scales between my sorrow and my joy; Will agree that it is only when I am empty am I at a standstill and balanced; Will share the view that when Beloved Existence the Treasure-keeper as it were lifts me to weigh Its gold and silver that needs accordingly my joy and sorrow to rise and fall.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will like to build of my imaginings my bower in the wilderness ere I build it within city walls; Will say even as I have homecomings in my twilights so has the wanderer in me my ever distant and my ever alone; Will of my imaginings say my house is my larger body; Will say my house grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night and that it is not dreamless; Will share the view that my house in its dreaming leaves the city and goes out beyond its walls to the groves and the hilltops; Will agree that it would be real nice if we could gather our houses into our hands and like sowers scatter them in forest and meadow; Will be of the mind that the valleys are the streets and the green paths the alleyways that we might seek one another through the orchards and come into the company of one another with the fragrancies of the land in our clothes; Will with seeing that these things are not yet to be agree that in their fear our foreparents bunched our houses way too near together; Will then concede that that fear shall endure a little longer; Will agree that a little longer shall our city walls separate our hearths from our fields forests hills and fountainheads; Will say my house guards something with the fastening of its doors; Will say my house guards my peace of mind that quiet urge that reveals my power; Will say my house guards my remembrances my glimmering arches that span the summits of my mind; Will say my house guards the beauty that leads my heart from the things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain; Will not be of the opinion that in my house I only have comfort and the lust for comfort that stealthy thing that can enter a house a guest and then become a host and then a lord; Will accept that over comfort could so very easily and subtly become my subduer and with its hooks and scourges make puppets of my larger desires; Will be of the opinion that though comfort’s hands are silken its heart could very well be of iron; Will not agree that comfort lulls me to my sleep only to stand by my bed and jeer at the dignity of my flesh; Will not agree that comfort makes a mockery of my sound senses and lays them like fragile vessels in thistledown only to wait to see them break; Will agree that verily lusting for comfort could murder the passion of my essence and then walk grinningly in the funeral cortege; Will agree that I am a child of space restless in my rest and that I shall not be trapped nor subdued; Will be willing to say my house shall at times be my anchor and at times again my mast; Will be willing to say my house shall at times need to be a glistening film that covers my wound and at times again an eyelid that guards my eye; Will be willing to say of my house that I shall not fold my wings that I may pass through its doors nor bend my head that I strike not against the ceiling nor fear to breathe lest the walls should crack and fall down; Will not look upon olden dwellings as sepulchres made by the dead for the living; Will be willing to say that though of magnificence and splendour my house shall not hold my secrets nor shelter my longings; Will agree that that which is boundless in me abides in the mansion of the sky whose door is the morning mist and whose windows are the songs and the silences of the night.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will agree that my clothes conceal much of my beauty yet they hide not my unbeautiful; Will accept that though I seek in my garments the freedom of privacy I may find in them a harness and a chain; Will share the view that it would be lovelier if I could meet the sun and the wind with more of my skin and less of my raiment; Will agree that as it were the breath of Beloved Existence is in the sunlight and Its hands are in the wind; Will say without knowing for sure: “Perhaps it is the north wind that has woven the clothes I wear.”; Will then go on to say that shame was its loom and the softening of the sinews was its thread; Will then say further that when its work was done it laughed in the forest; Will share the opinion that I should forget not that my modesty is but for a shield against the eye of the unclean; Will concede that when the unclean shall be no more that my modesty up to then was but a fetter and a fouling of my mind; Will agree that I should forget not that the ground delights to feel my bare feet and the winds long to play with my wavy hair.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will say that to me the Earth abundantly yields its fruit and that I shall not want if I but know how to fill my hands; Will agree that it is in exchanging the gifts of the Earth that I shall find my full plenty and be exceedingly satisfied; Will though accept that unless the exchange be in love and in kindly justice it could but lead me to greed or to hunger; Will share the view that when in the marketplace the toilers of the sea and the fields and the orchards meet the weavers and the potters and the gatherers of spices they should as it were invoke Beloved Existence to come into their midst and sanctify their scales and the reckoning that weighs value against value; Will not be inclined to permit the barren- handed to take part in the transactions: those who would sell their words for the labour of the fishermen the farmers the weavers the potters and the gatherers of spices; Will say to such people: those who would sell their words for the labour

others: “Come with me to the fields and the orchards; sail with me upon the waves of the sea and there cast your net for the land and the waters shall be bountiful to you even as they are to me.”; Will share the view that if there come singers and dancers and flute players to the marketplace that I should also buy of their gifts for they too are gatherers of fruit and fragrancy and that which they bring though fashioned of their dreams is raiment and food for my essence; Will agree that before anyone leaves the marketplace it ought to be seen to that no one will have gone their way with their hands empty for Beloved Existence as it were shall not sleep peacefully till Its needs for all of us are satisfied.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will say that it is when my spirit goes wandering upon the wind that I alone and unguarded commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto myself; Will then accept that for that wrong committed must I knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of Beloved Existence; Will say that like the ocean is my divine-self in that it remains for ever undefiled; Will say that like the ether is my divine-self in that it lifts but the winged; Will say that even like the sun is my divine-self in that it knows not the ways of the earthworms nor seeks it out the hollows of the foxes; Will share the view that my divine-self dwells not alone in me; Will be open to the view that much in me is still human-self and much in me is not yet human-self but a shapeless diminutive-self that floats asleep upon the wind searching for its own awakening; Will agree that it is my not yet human-self in me and not my divine-self nor my diminutive-self upon the wind that knows the crime and the punishment of crime; Will not speak of one who commits a wrong as though he or she were not of me: a stranger unto me and an intruder upon my world; Will be open to the view that even as the holy and the virtuous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in me or in any of us so too the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is also in me and in any of us; Will accept that a single leaf turns not yellow but with my silent knowledge of the whole tree and so too the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without my hidden will; Will then concur that like a procession do the right and the wrong-doers walk together towards their divine- selves; Will share the belief that I am a way and a wayfarer; Will accept that when I fall down I fall for those coming behind me: I am a caution for them against the stumbling stone; Will also accept that I too fall for those ahead of me; those who though faster and surer of foot yet removed not the stumbling stone; Will fully accept that this following word will surely lie heavy upon my heart: that the murdered is not unaccountable for their own murder and that the robbed is not blameless in being robbed; Will be thus open to the view that the virtuous on occasion are not completely innocent of the deeds of the wicked and the holier than thou at times not so squeaky clean when it comes to the doings of the fraudster; Will accept that the guilty is oftentimes the victim of the injured; Will agree that still more often is it that the condemned is the burden bearer for the guiltless and the unblamed; Will be open to the view that I cannot so easily separate the just from the unjust and the good from the wicked for they stand together before the face of the sun even as the various threads are woven together and that should one of the threads discolour break or come undone that Beloved Existence the Weaver as it were shall not alone look into the whole cloth but shall also examine the loom; Will agree that if I would bring to judgment the unfaithful husband that I should also weigh the heart of his wife in my scales: to somehow measure too her thoughts words and actions as well as visa versa: that if I would bring to judgment the unfaithful wife that I should also weigh the heart of her husband in my scales: to somehow measure too his thoughts words and actions; Will agree that if I would lock up an offender that I should also look unto the spirit; unto the heart and the mind of the offended; Will agree that if I would punish someone in the name of my virtuousness and lay an axe unto an evil tree that I should allow myself to see to its roots for verily I will find the roots of the very good the good and the not so good the fruitful and the fruitless are all entwined together in the silent heart of the Earth; Will be just enough I hope to pronounce judgement upon those who though honest in flesh yet are as thieves in their spirit; Will be true enough I hope to lay a penalty upon those who slay in the flesh yet who are themselves slain in their spirit; Will be courageous enough I hope to prosecute those who in their actions are deceivers and oppressors yet who are themselves aggrieved and outraged; Will be brave enough I hope to punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds; Will I hope be able to accept that the remorse itself is the justice which is administered by that very law which we would all fain serve; Will agree that we cannot lay remorse upon the innocent nor lift it from the heart of the guilty; Will share the point of view that unbidden shall remorse call in the night upon me that I may wake and reflect upon myself; Will agree that for me to fully understand justice I would need to look upon all deeds in the fullness of light; Will then accept that only then shall I know that the upright and the fallen are but one and the same person standing in the twilight between the night of their diminutive-self and the day of their divine-self and that the corner-stone of any a sacred edifice is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will agree that we delight in laying down laws; Will then say that like children playing by the wavy waters who build their sand- towers with constancy and then destroy them with laughter do we delight all the more in breaking those very laws; Will accept that while we build our sand-towers the sea playfully empties in more sand and that when we destroy our sand-towers it laughs with us and at us; Will agree that verily the sea laughs always with the innocent; Will accept that there are those to whom life is not an ocean and man-made laws are not sand-towers but to whom life is a rock and law the chisel with which they would carve it in their own likeness; Will agree that I would need to have a word to say to the cripple who hates dancers; Will agree that I would need to have a word to say to the grumpy old ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk of the forest a stray and vagrant thing; Will agree that I would need to have a word to say to the aging feline who bemoans her past and begrudges beauty in curve and demeanour to her protégé; Will agree that I would need to have a word to say to them who come early to a wedding-feast and when over-fed and tired go their way saying that all feasts are a violation and all feasters law-breakers; Will agree that I would need to have no other word to say of them than that they too stand in the sunlight but with their backs to the sun; Will agree that they: those who stand in the sunlight but with their backs to the sun see only their shadows and that their shadows are their laws; Will accept that to them the sun is but the caster of their shadows; Will agree that for them to acknowledge their laws is but to stoop down and trace their shadows upon the ground; Will share the point of view that for those who walk facing the sun that there are no images drawn on the ground that can hold them; Will agree that those who travel with the wind let no weather vane direct their course; Will share the opinion that no clique’s law shall bind me if I break my restraints but upon no one’s prison door; Will share the opinion that no laws shall I fear if I dance but stumble against no one’s iron chains; Will share the opinion that there is no one who shall bring me to judgment if I remove my garment yet leave it in no one’s path; Will agree that we can muffle the drums and we can loosen the strings of the harp but that we cannot command the gratifying song thrush not to sing.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will share the view that at our city gates and by our firesides we oft prostrate ourselves and worship our own freedom even as would slaves humbling themselves before a tyrant and praise him or her though they slay them; Will agree that in the groves of the holy temples and in the shadows of the sacred hills there are those who would claim to be the freest among us yet they wear their freedom as though it were a harness and a fetter; Will though agree that we can only be free when even our desire of seeking our freedom becomes a harness to us and when we cease to speak of our freedom as a goal and a fulfilment; Will accept that we shall be free indeed when our days are not without our care nor our nights without our want and our grief but rather when these things encircle our life and yet we rise above them valiant and unbound; Will concede that there is no way we can rise beyond our days and our nights unless we break the chains which we at the dawn of our understanding have fastened around our noon hour; Will agree that in truth that which we call our freedom is the strongest of these chains though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle our eyes; Will then accept that it is but fragments of our own self we would discard that we may become free; Will be of the opinion that if it is an unjust law we would abolish that that very law was written with our own hand upon our own forehead; Will agree that we cannot erase it by burning our law books nor by washing the foreheads of our judges though we pour an ocean upon them; Will accept that if it is our magisterium we would remove from our life that we ought to see first that its throne erected within us is levelled; Will share the view that the narrow-minded can only rule the free and the proud but for the presence of a narrow-mindedness in their freedom and a shame in their pride; Will agree that if it is a care we would cast off that that care has been chosen by us rather than imposed upon us; Will then accept that if it is a fear we would dispel the seat of that fear is in our heart and not in the hand of the feared; Will accept that verily all things move within us in a constant half embrace: the desired and the dreaded the repugnant and the cherished the pursued and that which we would escape; Will then agree that these things move within us in pairs as lights and shadows that blend; Will further possibly agree that when the shadow fades and is no more that the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light; Will conclude that our freedom when it loses its restraints becomes itself a restraint of our greater freedom.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will accept that oftentimes I feel like I am a seasonal playfield upon which my reason and my judgment compete against my passion and my appetite; Will then agree that it would truly be great if I could somehow be a magnanimous referee of myself: being able to turn the discord and the rivalry of my elements into oneness and melody; Will though agree that this cannot be unless I be also a lover of all of my elements; Will share the view that my reason and my passion are the rudder and sails of my seafaring self; Will accept that if either my sails or my rudder be broken I can but toss and drift or else be held at a standstill in mid-sea; Will concede that my reason ruling alone is a force confining and my passion unattended a flame that burns to its own destruction; Will therefore agree that it may be best I let myself exalt my reason to the height of my passion that sing I may; Will then agree that it may be best I too let myself direct my passion with my reason that my passion may live through its own daily renaissance and like a butterfly rise above its ruin; Will consider my judgment and my appetite even as I would two beloved guests in my house; Will then surely agree that I would not honour one guest above the other for to be more mindful of one loses me the love and faith of both; Will when strolling among the hills or sitting in the cool shade of beeches and elms and sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows let my heart say in its silence: “Beloved Existence rests in reason.”; Will when a storm comes and a mighty wind shakes the forest and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky let my heart say in awe: “Beloved Existence moves in passion.”; Will then agree that since I am a breath in Beloved Existence’s sphere and a leaf in Beloved Existence’s forest that I too should rest in reason and move in passion.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will say that pain is the breaking of a shell that encloses my understanding; Will then agree that even as the stone of a fruit must break that its heart may stand in the sun so must I know pain; Will accept that could I keep my heart in wonder at the daily miracles of my life my pain would not seem

less wondrous than my joy; Will then share the view that I would hopefully be able to accept the seasons of my heart even as I have always accepted the seasons that pass over the forests and fields and that I would with tranquillity them be able to watch through the winters of my grief; Will agree that much of my pain is self-chosen; Will consider the possibility that pain may be the bitter potion by which my physician within me heals my sick self; Will, therefore, accept that it best to let myself trust my physician and drink the remedy in silence and peace; Will agree that the hand of my physician though steadfast is as it were guided by Beloved Existence’s tenderness; Will from that follow on to also agree that Beloved Existence’s elixir cup though it bitters my tongue has been as it were fashioned of a clay which as the Beloved Potter It has as it were moistened with Its own sweet-salted tears.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will share the view that my heart knows in its silence the secrets of my days and my nights; Will then agree that my ears long for the sound of my heart’s knowledge; Will say that I would like to know in words that which I have always known in thought; Will say that I would like to touch with my fingers the velvet face of my dreams; Will then agree that it is well I should for the hidden well-spring of my essence must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea that the treasure of my infinite depths be revealed to my eyes; Will accept that there should be no scales to weigh the treasure of my infinite depths; Will also accept that I should not try to seek the depths of my knowledge with a staff or a sounding line; Will share the opinion that I am a sea; an ocean boundless and measureless; Will at times say: “I have found a truth of myself.” and at times again: “A truth of myself has found me.”; Will also say: “I have discovered a pathway to who I am.” and at times again: “A pathway to who I am has discovered me.”; Will take the position that the I am of who I am ever becoming enjoys being where it wills; it is as the heavens is to the myriad stars: home sweet home.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will agree that no one can reveal to me aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of my knowledge; Will share the view that the teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple among his or her followers gives not of their wisdom but rather of their faith and lovingness; Will agree that if that teacher is indeed wise he or she would not bid me to enter their house of wisdom but rather lead me to the threshold of my own mind; Will agree that an astronomer may speak to me of his or her understanding of space but cannot give me their understanding of it; Will also agree that a musician may sing to me of the rhythm which is all about but cannot give me his or her ear which arrests the rhythm nor their voice that echoes it; Will with following on from this also agree that he or she who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure but cannot conduct me thither; Will accept that each person’s vision; that my vision has a lyric and an ambiance all of its own; Will consider that Beloved Existence’s as it were knowledge of each one of us is in company and that in company are we to be in our knowledge of Beloved Existence and in our understanding of each other the Earth and the Heavens.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will be of the opinion that my most beloved and intimate friend is my needs answered; Will agree that such a friend in all the here along following is the field which I sow with love and reap with thanksgiving; Will also agree that such a friend is a table and a hearth for me to come to her with my hunger and to seek her for my warmth; Will accept that when she speaks her mind I fear not her “nay” in my own nor do I withhold my “aye”; Will agree that when she is silent my heart ceases not to listen to her heart; Will share the belief that without words in such a friendship all thoughts all desires and all expectations are born and shared with a joy that is unclaimed; Will agree that when I short-termly part from her I grieve not for that which I love most in her may be clearer in my absence from her as the river to the fisherman is more inviting from its banks; Will concede that there should be more to the mystery of this kind of friendship than merely the deepening of knowledge and wisdom; Will then agree that there ought to be a deepening of honour; Will agree that I should let my very best be for my beloved friend; Will with following on also agree that if my friend must know the ebb of my tide that she should also know its flow; Will agree that I ought not to seek my friend merely to waffle away my hours; Will then agree that I should seek her always with my minutes and hours to listen encourage and to share; Will accept that it is for my beloved friend to fill my need but not my emptiness; Will share the view that in such friendship there ought to be hearty laughter lonely tears and the sharing of pleasures; Will then agree that in the dew of respectful ways our hearts will find their morning and be fully refreshed.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will say that I talk when I cease to be at peace with my thoughts; Will agree that when I can no longer dwell in the solitude of my heart I live in my lips and the sound is my diversion and my pastime; Will accept that in much of my talking my thinking is half suffocated; Will share the opinion that thought is a bird of space that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly; Will not accept that there are times I seek being talkative through fear of being alone; Will though accept that the silence of my aloneness reveals to my eyes my helpless self and I would that escape; Will agree that there are times when I talk and without my knowledge or my forethought that I reveal a truth or a prophecy which even I myself do not understand; Will follow on from that and say that I have truths and prophecies within me but that they lend not themselves to being told in words; Will agree that in my bosom my spirit dwells in rhythmic silence; Will agree that when I meet a friend or a familiar face on the roadside or in the marketplace I let my spirit in me move my lips and direct my tongue; Will then carry along with letting my voice within my voice speak to the within and the within of their ears; Will then confidently accept that their hearts will keep such treasures of my heart precious as they would keep the scents of a garden in delightful remembrance though its arrangements be long forgotten and its walls no more be.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will be open to the view that time is both measureless and immeasurable; Will say that I adjust my conduct and even direct the course of my spirit according to the seconds minutes and hours in a day or night and that even would I them according to the seasons adjust and direct; Will be inclined to make of time a river upon whose bank I would sit watch and make comment on its never-ending flowing; Will though agree that the timeless in me is aware of existence’s evanescence and knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow today’s dream; Will then agree that that which sings and contemplates in me is beyond all yesterdays and all tomorrows dwelling in the stars and galaxies worlds without end; Will say that there are times when I most assuredly feel that my power to love is boundless; Will then also accept that at times I feel that very same love though boundless encompassed within my heart; Will agree that such too may be my understanding of time; Will accept that if I am of the mind that I must measure time into say moments that I should let each moment dance and sing with all my other moments; Will then also accept that with grateful remembrance I should let the moments of my present embrace the moments of my past; Will then further accept that with grateful longing I should let the moments of my past embrace the moments of my present and the moments of my future.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will accept that of the good in us we can speak but not of the evil; Will be open to the possibility that evil is but the good tortured by its own hunger and thirst; Will then agree that verily when the good is hungry it seeks its food even in clogged up drains and when it thirsts it drinks even of stagnant hollows; Will agree that we are good when we are at one with ourselves; Will though also agree that when we are not at one with ourselves we are not evil for a divided house is not a den of thieves it is only a divided house; Will further agree that a ship without a rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the ocean floor; Will share the view that we are good when we strive to give of ourselves; Will though also agree that we are not evil when we seek gain for ourselves for when we strive for gain we are but a root that clings to the Earth and suckles at Its breast; Will accept that surely the fruit cannot say to the root: “Be like me ripe and full and ever giving of your abundance.”; Will agree that for the fruit giving is its need as is receiving for the root; Will accept that we are good when we are fully awake in our speech; Will too accept that we are not evil when we sleep while our tongue falters without purpose; Will agree that even our stumbling speech may strengthen our weak tongue; Will share the view that we are good when we earnestly walk to our aim with bold steps; Will though also share the view that we are not evil when we go to our aim limping for even those who limp go not backward; Will accept that those who are strong and swift ought to see to it that they do not purposely limp before the lame deeming it a great kindness; Will agree that we are good in countless ways and that we are not evil when we are not good but only loitering and sluggard; Will share the view that a pity it is that gazelles cannot teach their swiftness to turtles or turtles their easygoingness to gazelles; Will though agree that quite impossible this would be given that the legs of the turtle and the legs of the gazelle are of their size most comfortable and natural unto their owners; Will conclude from this that swiftness and easygoingness is not of size but of preference; Will share the view that in our longing for our divine-self lies our goodness and that that longing is in all of us; Will though to that view add that in some that longing is a torrent rushing with a might to the sea as it carries with it the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forests; Will at the same time agree that in others it is a leisurely rivulet that loses itself in every bend and lingers itself in every crevice and eddy before it eventually reaches the welcoming shore; Will agree that those who long much ought not to those who long little say: “Wherefore are you so slow and halting?”; Will agree that the truly good ask not the threadbare: “Where is your finery?”; Will also agree that the truly good ask not the homeless: “What has befallen your home?”

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will agree that I pray more often than not in my distress and in my need than I do when I am at ease and in plenty; Will be open to the view that it would be good too if when in the fullness of my joy and in the days of my abundance I were also to pray; Will accept that prayer is but an expansion of myself into the living ether; Will accept that if it is for my comfort to pour my gloominess into space it is also for my delight to pour forth there the dawning of my heart; Will agree that if I cannot but weep when my heart summons me to prayer that it should prevail upon me again and yet again though I am with weeping until it shall bring me to laugh; Will accept that when I pray I rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour and whom save in my prayer I may not meet; Will therefore then agree that I should let my visit to that temple invisible be for naught but joy and sweet communion; Will accept that if I should enter that temple for no other purpose than asking I shall not receive; Will also accept that if I should enter that temple merely to humble myself I shall not be lifted; Will further accept that if I should enter into that temple solely to beg for the good of others and the world I shall not be heard; Will agree that it is enough that I enter that temple with my heart in readiness; Will be of the view that no one can teach me how to pray in their words; Will then be of the view that Beloved Existence as it were listens not to my words save when It Itself as it were utters them through my lips; Will agree that no one can teach me Beloved Existence’s as it were prayer of Its seas of Its forests of Its mountains and of Its hamlets; Will though accept that I who am born of Beloved Existence’s hamlets of Its mountains of Its forests and seas can as it were find their prayer in my heart; Will concede that if I but listen in the stillness of the night to them I shall come to know my prayer in their silences; Will be open to a comprehensive view that would have me saying I can hear them pray say: “O Life Our Most Beloved I am Your joyful winged Self. It is Your love in me that sustains in Your days and in Your nights. It is in Your caring for me that I care for myself my household and my humankind which are Yours all. It is Your beauty in me that lets me to embrace Your Earth Your Sky Your Heavens and Your Way Beyond. You are my intention my canticle and my preparation and in giving You myself in hermitage and marketplace am I giving You verily anew my alpha my omega and my light eternal.”

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will agree that my pleasure is a freedom- song but that it is not freedom; Will agree that my pleasure is a blossoming of my desires but that it is not the fruit; Will agree that my pleasure is my depths calling unto my heights but that it is not the deep nor the high; Will agree that my pleasure is like unto a caged bird taking wing but that it is not space encompassed; Will conclude that in truth my pleasure is but a freedom-song; Will then agree that I should sing it with fullness of heart but that I should not have myself lose my heart in the singing of it; Will accept that there were times when I sought pleasure as if it were all that needs to be sought and that by doing so was I by others judged and rebuked; Will agree that rather than judging or rebuking we should further seek for we shall find pleasure sure but not it alone for seven are its siblings and that the least among them is more beautiful than that of the first; Will admit that I may on occasion have heard tell of those among us who while digging in the ground for roots besides found a treasure; Will agree that some of our elderly remember their pleasures with regret as if they were like wrongs they had committed in their dreams; Will agree that regret is but a beclouding of my mind and not its liberation; Will share the view that I should remember my pleasures with gratitude and joy as I would the harvests of the fields and the orchards; Will though also share the view that if it comforts some to regret considering it to be their mind’s way of chastising them that they should be let thus comfort themselves; Will agree that there are among us those who are neither young to seek nor old to remember but that out of a fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it; Will be of the opinion that even in the foregoing of pleasure is a pleasure; Will accept that we too betimes find a treasure though we dig for its roots with quivering hands; Will say I do betimes offend my heart: offend my spirit; Will though say that the graceful carefree crow offends not the darkness of a moonless night or a softly glowing candle the stars of a midwinter’s eve; Will say my breath or my lilt burdens not the wind; Will say my heart: my spirit is a shimmering ocean which I cannot trouble with twiddling my toes in its caressing ripplets; Will agree that oftentimes in denying myself pleasure I do but store up a desire for it in the recesses of my heart; Will agree that perhaps that which seems omitted today waits for tomorrow and tomorrow and a lifetime of tomorrows; Will accept that even my body knows its heritage and its rightful need and that it will not be deceived; Will share the view that my body is the harp of who I am and that it is mine to bring forth inspiring edifying sweet music from it or harsh rasping confused sounds; Will be willing to ask in my heart: “How shall I distinguish that which is good in my pleasure from that which is not good?”; Will be open to the view that if I were to stroll in fields orchards and gardens that I would learn it is the passionate pleasure of the bee to gather the nectar of the flower as is it the passionate pleasure of the flower to yield its nectar to the bee; Will then agree that to the bee the flower is a fountain of life and that to the flower the bee is a messenger of love; Will further agree that to both the bee and the flower the giving and receiving of passionate pleasure is a need and a joy; Will thusly be willing to whole heartily agree that in my passionate pleasures I should be more like unto the flowers and the bees.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will agree that there is no way I can seek or find beauty unless beauty itself be my way and my guide; Will also agree that there is no way I can speak of beauty except beauty itself be the weaver of my speech; Will share the view that the aggrieved and the injured say: “Beauty is kind and gentle. Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory does she walk among us.”; Will share the view that the intense say: “Nay beauty is a thing of might and dread. Like a tempest does it shake the ground beneath us and the sky above us.”; Will share the view that the tired and the weary say: “Beauty is of soft whisperings. It speaks in our spirit. Its voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of a shadow.”; Will share the view that the restless say: “We have heard beauty shouting among the hills and with its cries came the sound of its elk hoofs and the beating of its swan wings and the neighing of its horses.”; Will be open to the view that at night the watch keepers of the city say: “Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.”; Will be open to the view that at noontide the toilers and wayfarers say: “We have seen beauty leaning over the Earth from the windows of the sunset.”; Will be open to the view that in winter the snow-bound say: “Beauty shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.”; Will be open to the view that in summer heat the reapers say: “We have seen beauty dancing with autumn leaves and with drifts of snow in its hair have we seen it.”; Will agree that though we have said all these things of beauty yet in truth we have spoken not of beauty but of our needs unsatisfied; Will share the view that beauty is not a need but a joy; Will then also share the view that beauty is not our mouth thirsting nor our empty hand stretched forth but rather our heart inflamed and our essence enriched; Will further share the view that beauty is not an image we would see nor a song we would hear but rather an image we see though we close our eyes and a song we hear though we shut our ears; Will also accept that beauty is not our breath captive within our fragile frame nor our winged thought held in leash to some marble column but rather a garden wide for ever coming into its bloom and a flock of harvest seeds for ever in flight unto their own day; Will agree that beauty is our life when our life unveils its holy face; Will also then agree that we are our life and our veil; Will be of the belief that our beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror that is us; Will be thus open to the view that we are our eternity and its mirror.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon I will be open to the point of view that religion is all our deeds and all our reflections; Will then agree that that which is neither our deeds nor our reflections is a wonder and a surprise ever springing in us even while our hands hew the stone or tend the loom; Will in all truth know that my faith and my actions are inseparable; not needing or wanting them to be any other way; Will thusly not be spreading my hours before me saying: “This for Beloved Existence and this for myself; this for my essence and this other for my body.”; Will be open to the view that all my hours are my wings that beat through space from self to self; Will agree that those who wear their morality but as their best garment were better off in edenwear: better off naked for the wind and the sun will rip no threads in their skin; Will accept that those who define their conduct by ethics imprison their songbird in a cage; Will agree that the freest songs come not through grills or wiry entanglements; Will accept that to those to whom worshipping is a window to open but also to shut have not yet visited the house of their essence whose windows are from dawn to dawn; Will be of the belief that our daily life is our house of prayer and our religion; Will agree that whenever we enter into it that we let ourselves take with us our all; Will then agree that we should take with us into it our sturdy ploughs our caring skillets our books made holy and our ready lutes: the things we have fashioned in our necessity or for our delight; Will in reverie agree that we cannot rise above our achievements nor fall lower than our failures; Will then accept that we should take with us all peoples into our daily life for in adoration we cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble ourselves lower than their despair; Will be open to the view that if we would truly know Beloved Existence that we not therefore be approaching It as solvers of Its mysteries for Beloved Existence is not bound to being known; Will though agree that if we should but look about us we shall see Beloved Existence as it were playing with us in joyful harmony; Will further agree that if we should cast our gaze to the meadowy ground and to the all surround of forest ravine hill and wavy shore we shall sense and know the presence of Beloved Existence all the more and even all the more to more so if we should look into a white cloud adorned sun filled sky of blue and on and on by way way out into the starry bejewelled dark velvet heavens.

By way of Myriam of Lebanon, I will be open to the possibility that the secret of death is to be found in the heart of life; Will agree that the owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot be expected to unveil the mystery of light; Will agree that if we would indeed behold the essence of death that we should open

our hearts wide unto the body of life; Will accept that life and death are one even as day and night are one; Will be open to the view that in the depths of our hopes and desires reside our silent knowledge of the beyond and that like seeds dreaming beneath the snow our heart dreams of spring; Will agree that best possibly it would be for us to trust our dreams for in them may very well be hidden gateways to our eternities; Will share the opinion that our fear of death is but the trembling of a shepherd or shepherdess when they stand before their sovereign whose hand is about to bestow upon them a great honour; Will then agree that they are most likely very joyful beneath their trembling seeing that they will wear the emblem of their sovereign; Will have to though say that they would most likely be more mindful of their trembling; Will accept that when we easygoingly climb the hills of life we are being about in our eternal homes as are we when them with heaviness of step ascend; Will accept that when we drink deeply of the freshness of life we are singing by our eternal brooks; Will accept that when we willingly surrender our limbs and our breath at our hour of calling we are dancing in our eternal valleys; Will share the view that for us to cease breathing is but to have our breath freed from its ebbs and flows that we may joyfully float with beloved wind o’er our beloved homes brooks and valleys and there to play in each other’s beloved company in the beloved sunbeams all along aways the beloved eternal shorelines and with ease to rise in the beloved mist into the beloved high blue sky and yonder into the beloved starry heavens and then on by on the beloved ways unknown further and further into the myriad mysteries and worlds of that which I will in all innocence and truth call Beloved Existence.

And now it has come to be for me to take time to pause; to lovingly give thanks for all that has been herein given to me and to assuredly say: that come here a night come there a day on my ongoing journeying way that according to my needs I most definitely will be at my leisure and with my pleasure revisiting revising and redefining these wordings; these profound wordings which in the fullness of time have so profusely come to me by way of Myriam by way of Almustafa, verily by way of Gibran Khalil Gibran. Blessed has been this stay.

~ Fin ~

 

RICHARD MC SWEENEY

CREATIVE INDEPENDENCE ~ A self-originating Irish Philosopher of the natural kind who delights in poetically giving written shape and form to the integrity of the individual voice. Richard McSweeneyRichard McSweeney
He lived in the Far East for some thirteen years before moving to the Middle East where he spent three years in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and a further three in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. 

While concurrently working as a full-time lecturer in English Language & Literature in Seoul, Republic of Korea he gained a BA in Korean Language & Literature, and a MA in Classical Chinese Philosophy both of which he accomplished through the mediums of Korean and Classical Chinese. 

Richard a happy nuptial hermit, and father of two dwells on his native island home. 

He is also known under his non de plumes of Richard of Eire, Richard of Éire, and Richard of Ireland

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