over the years many of you have asked what my favourite book of poetry is. time and time again i have mentioned ‘the prophet’ by kahlil gibran. never in this lifetime did i think i’d be offered the chance to write the foreword for this newly inaugurated @penguinclassics . this has truly been a highlight of my life. i am so grateful. i came to ‘the prophet’ via my father at a very young age (scroll to read!). when he would gather all us kids in the living room of our basement apartment and share his favourite music and poetry. his thoughts on philosophy and revolution. and where his words fell short - he allowed kahlil gibran’s ‘the prophet’ do the talking for him. years later i ran into ‘the prophet’ on my own - by chance. the universe is funny in this way. unknown to us - she continually conspires to lead us to what we need most. i remember the library i was sitting in. and being forever transformed upon reading the poem ‘on joy and sorrow’. in my darkest times - it has saved me. pulled me from the deep corridors of my mind. offered me balance. this book is my confidant. my advisor. i’ve read it dozens of times. owned and given away dozens of copies. there’s one permanently packed in my travel bag. how funny. that the same night the opportunity to write this foreword came my way - i was standing on the 3rd floor of a bookstore in central london just that afternoon. we had stumbled in to browse. i proceeded to find ‘the prophet’ and recited poem after poem to my friend. who then proceeded to buy herself a copy cause she knew it was the only way i’d shut up. and yes. i carried on reciting it on our cab ride back to the hotel. i think what i’m trying to say is: this book cracked my heart wide open and forced it to stretch. and today this beautiful edition hits bookstands. originally published in 1923 this book has reached over 10 million hands in its 96 years of life. its beauty is that when you read it. it feels as fresh and relevant as ever. if you will be reading it for the first time: welcome. i envy you. if you have been to the gates of ‘the prophet’ before: it’s good to have you back old friend. ❤️
i think. it’s feeling nothing that’s the worst feeling of all. i hate it most. being numb is like having the vitality of your life turned off. the luminous colour disintegrating into a fuzzy greying black and white. imagine a valve inside of you. this valve is what allows feelings to spill through. like a tap. we turn it off because we may want the sorrow to stop. but sorrow comes from the same valve as joy. so when we shut the valve to extinguish difficult emotions we end up extinguishing the beautiful ones too. and this is where numbness lives.
being an immigrant is a funny little thing. i’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it means for me. because whether i like it or not- it has impacted a majority of my life. i grew up. like many of you immigrant children. teeter-tottering two very different worlds. at home i had to be the obedient little girl who did exactly as she was told- or suffer the consequences. i spoke when spoken to. could not change my appearance or attitude to fit in with the other kids. that’s how the culture was. at school i tried so badly to be like every other western kid. but given the strictness i lived with- that wasn’t easy. whether at home or school it felt like i was always losing. it was impossible to fit into either of these places completely. which left me feeling like an outcast in both. when i stepped into my early twenties and finally had some agency i eventually embraced my immigrant history. it's something many of us go through. and i laughed to myself when i realized something: i feel so brown when i’m in canada. so brown. because that automatically sets me apart here - and hardly ever for the right reasons. and then i go back to punjab. and holyyyyyyyy mother. i feel so godamn canadian. when we’re hanging out in the village and there’s water buffalo and chickens roaming around our front yard - i forget my brownness for a second (cause big whoop- over there everyone is brown and busy dealing with greater oppressive forces). and that’s how i came to write this poem. i realized that being an immigrant feels like being a bridge between both countries. i can’t fully step into and just belong to one. i’m somewhere in the middle. being an immigrant is being the bridge between the last generation and the next. and damn. that’s a beautiful thing. #thesunandherflowers
🌱🌱🌱love for yourself. love for others. love to the world. its people. the earth. finding your passions. the fights that need to be fought. continuing to raise our voice against injustices. doing. moving. building. and striving for the light 🌱🌱🌱