Have Mercy on Me, My Soul

Posted by on Sep 16, 2012 in Other, Poetry & Fiction | 1,935 comments

Have Mercy on Me, My Soul

This has been my favorite poem for the last 15 years:

Have Mercy on Me, My Soul

Why are you weeping, my Soul?

Knowest thou my weakness?

Thy tears strike sharp and injure,

For I know not my wrong.

Until when shalt thou cry?

I have naught but human words to interpret your dreams,

Your desires, and your instructions.

Look upon me, my Soul;

I have consumed my full life heeding your teachings.

Think of how I suffer!

I have exhausted my life following you.

My heart was glorying upon the throne,

But is now yoked in slavery;

My patience was a companion,

But now contends against me;

My youth was my hope,

But now reprimands my neglect.

Why, my Soul, are you all-demanding?

I have denied myself pleasure

And deserted the joy of life

Following the course which you impelled me to pursue.

Be just to me,

Or call Death to unshackle me,

For justice is your glory.

Have mercy on me, my Soul.

You have laden me with Love until I cannot carry my burden.

You and Love are inseparable might;

Substance and I are inseparable weakness.

Will e’er the struggle cease between the strong and the weak?

Have mercy on me, my Soul.

You have shown me Fortune beyond my grasp.

You and Fortune abide on the mountain top;

Misery and I are abandoned together in the pit of the valley.

Will e’er the mountain and the valley unite?

Have mercy on me, my Soul.

You have shown me Beauty,

But then concealed her.

You and Beauty live in the light;

Ignorance and I are bound together in the dark.

Will e’er the light invade darkness?

Your delight comes with the Ending,

And you revel now in anticipation;

But this body suffers with the life

While in life.

This, my Soul, is perplexing.

You are hastening toward Eternity,

But this body goes slowly toward perishment.

You do not wait for him,

And he cannot go quickly.

This, my Soul, is sadness.

You ascend high, though heaven’s attraction,

But this body falls by earth’s gravity.

You do not console him,

And he does not appreciate you.

This, my Soul, is misery.

You are rich in wisdom,

But this body is poor in understanding.

You do not compromise,

And he does not obey.

This, my Soul, is extreme suffering.

In the silence of the night you visit The Beloved

And enjoy the sweetness of His presence.

This body ever remains,

The bitter victim of hope and separation.

This, my Soul, is agonizing torture.

Have mercy on me, my Soul!

–Khalil Gibran

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3 Comments

  1. MashaAllah, beautiful!

  2. Very deep piece. Masha’Allah

  3. “….In the silence of the night you visit The Beloved
    And enjoy the sweetness of His presence.
    This body ever remains,
    The bitter victim of hope and separation.
    This, my Soul, is agonizing torture.
    Have mercy on me, my Soul!”

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