In the Dark Night
Written in World War I during the famine in Lebanon, it acquire a deep meaning in our time
In the dark night we call to one another and cry for help, while the ghost of Death stands in our midst stretching his black wings over us and, with his iron hands, pushes our souls into the abyss.
In the dark night Death strides on and we follow him frightened and moaning. Not one of us is capable of halting the fateful procession or even nourishing a hope of its end.
In the dark night Death walks and we walk behind him, and when he looks backward, hundreds of souls fall down on both sides of the road, and he who falls, sleeps and never awakens, and he who keeps his footing marches on fearfully in the dread certainty of falling later and joining those who have yielded to Death and entered the eternal sleep. But Death marches on, gazing at the distant Evening Twilight.
In the dark night the brother calls his brother, the father his son, and the mother her children; but the pangs and torments of hunger afflict us equally.
But Death does not hunger or thirst. He devours our souls and bodies, drinks our blood and tears and is never sated.
During the first part of the night the child calls his mother saying, “I am hungry, mother,” and the mother replies, “Wait a while, my child.”
In the second part of the night the child repeats, “I am hungry, mother, give me some bread,” and the mother answers him, saying, “I have no bread, my beloved child”.
In the third part of the night Death arrives and smites both the mother and the child with his wings and them both sleep eternally by the side of the road. And Death marches on, gazing at the distant Evening Twilight.
In the morn the husband goes to the field in search of nourishment, but he finds naught in it save dust and stones.
At noontide he returns to his wife and children pale, weak, and empty-handed.
And at eventide Death arrives and the husband, his wife, and children lie in eternal sleep. And he laughs and marches on toward the distant Evening Twilight.
In the morn the farmer leaves his hut for the city, carrying in his pocket his mother’s and sister’s jewellery to exchange for bread. At eventide he returns without bread and without jewels, to find his mother and sisters sunk into eternal sleep, their eyes staring at nothingness. Whereupon he lifts his arms toward heaven and drops like a bird shot by a merciless hunter.
And Death, seeing the farmer, his mother and sisters beguiled to eternal sleep by the evil angel, laughs again and marches on toward the distant Evening Twilight.
Oh, you who walk in the light of the day, we call you from the endless dark of the night. Do you hear our cries?
We have sent to you the spirits of our dead as our apostles. Have you heeded the apostles’ word?
We have burdened the east Wind with our gasps. Has the Wind reached your distant shores to unload his burden in your hands? Are you aware of our misery? Have you thought of coming to our rescue? Or have you hugged to yourselves your peace and comfort, saying, “what can the sons of the light do for the sons of the dark? Let the dead bury their dead and God’s will be done.”
Yes, let God’s will be done, but you not raise ourselves above yourselves so that God may make your instruments of His will and use you for our aid?
In the dark night we call one another.
The brother calls his brother, the mother her daughter, the man his wife, and the lover his beloved.
And when our voices mingle together and reach the heart of heaven, Death pauses and laughs, then mocks us and marches on, gazing at the distant Evening Twilight.
----------------------------------------------------From Gibran’s Thoughts and Meditations