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Song of the flower is a beautiful poem about nature and its relationship with living beings. This poem was written by Khalil Gibran, a famous Lebanese poet. This poem speaks about the life cycle of a flower and its experience. The flower in the poem is representative of every aspect of nature.
About the Poet
Kahlil Gibran is a Lebanese-American author, poet, and visual artist of the 20th-century. In his early childhood, Gibran grew up in Bsharri village around Mount Lebanon in Northern Lebanon. Therefore, his writing was influenced by the nature he witnessed around during his early childhood years; the landscape, the mountains, the beautiful waterfalls, and the lush trees had a significant impact on Gibran’s young mind.
Gibran’s “Song of the Flower” incorporates several themes that include optimism, life, living in the present, objectivity, spirituality, and, most importantly, nature. This poem is about an innocent flower describing its journey from the beginning to the end. It describes how it lives to the fullest by becoming an integral part of nature, enjoying each moment of its short life.
I am a kind word uttered and repeated By the voice of Nature; I am a star fallen from the Blue tent upon the green carpet. I am the daughter of the elements With whom Winter conceived; To whom Spring gave birth; I was Reared in the lap of Summer and I Slept in the bed of Autumn.
The poet says that the flower is born out of Nature’s kindness. It is made from kind words repeated by Nature. Here, the speaker tries to indicate that the flower’s life is just another verse in nature’s everlasting, eternal song. The flower likens itself to a star that fell from the blue sky onto the green grass. The birth of the flower is described most romantically. It is not the “daughter” of only mother Nature. The season of Winter, along with Spring, Summer, and Autumn, rears the flower with affection and care, like foster mothers.
This particular flower’s seed was first sown in the winter. It was born in spring and flourished during summer. Finally, it “slept” in autumn. The flower sleeps in autumn, meaning it will be born again in the coming spring. There is no death for the flower as it will rise again and charm the world with thousands of colors. In this way, Gibran tenderly captures the flower’s life cycle in the first stanza.
At dawn I unite with the breeze To announce the coming of light; At eventide I join the birds In bidding the light farewell.
At dawn, the flower nods its head with the wind as a gesture of welcoming the first light of the morning. At night, the flower dances to the melody of birds as if it is a farewell celebration. After the celebration ends, nature’s choristers that is the birds return home to prepare for the following day.
The plains are decorated with My beautiful colours, and the air Is scented with my fragrance.
The poet depicts the plains that look bright and beautiful due to the presence of the bright flower. Here, the speaker (flower) takes a collective stance. It refers to other flowers blooming there as a singular entity. Its presence fills the air with its sweet fragrance. Those who stumble upon these beautiful plains can appreciate how magnificent the scenery looks.
As I embrace Slumber the eyes of Night watch over me, and as I Awaken I stare at the sun, which is The only eye of the day.
The poet here describes that the speaker has lived the day to the fullest, dancing and celebrating every moment thus it can sleep so soundly as if Slumber lulls it to rest. While the flower sleeps at night, the stars and the moon watch over it. They protect the flower, like parents. When the morning comes, the sun is the first to touch its eyelids with its invigorating light. In this way, the flower is awakened, and it gets ready to start a new day.
I drink dew for wine, and hearken to The voices of the birds, and dance To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.
The poet depicts how dew drops rest on the flower’s petals in the morning. He compares the dew with “wine”. This wine does not inebriate but rejuvenates the flower’s soul. The poet describes how the life of the flower forms a complete circle. The same cycle repeats each day; in the morning, the birds’ song tells the flower to get ready and play its part. When the wind blows and the grass sways, the flower follows their move.
I am the lover’s gift; I am the wedding wreath; I am the memory of a moment of happiness; I am the last gift of the living to the dead; I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.
The flower states its use on different occasions: lovers give each other flowers when they meet, and flowers are used in the wedding wreath. It means the flower does not only mark a beginning but is also present at the unification of lovers. Thus, the flower becomes part of happy memories. On the flip side, flowers are also used during funerals as parting gifts to the dead.
From the speaker’s tone, it can be said that it does not regard death as a frightening event. It is just a doorway to another life. So, when we say the final goodbye, we greet those who are passing away from this world to another with flowers. In this way, the flower is an integral part of a new beginning and a sad ending. It shares the joys and sorrows of human beings without even thinking about her emotions. When one learns how to be part of others’ happiness or sadness, forgetting their own, they become free and wise.
But I look up high to see only the light, And never look down to see my shadow. This wisdom which man must learn.
In the last stanza, the flower says that despite being part of both good and bad moments, it chooses to focus more on the brighter side; instead of looking down at its own shadow, it only blooms straight and higher to face the light, a symbol of the ultimate truth. This “light” unleashes the true potential hidden inside one’s soul.
Humans should always look at the brighter side of things like the speaker (flower). In this way, the poet conveys that human beings should always strive to be optimistic and cheerful despite being crestfallen over darker or sadder parts of their lives.