Then the hermit,
who visited the city once a year,
came forth and said,
Speak to us of Pleasure.
And he answered saying;
pleaseure is a freedom-song,
But it is not freedom.
It is the blossoming of your desires,
But it is not the fruit.
It is the depth calling unto a height,
But it is not the deep or the high.
It is the caged taking wing,
But it is not space encompassed.
Ay, in very truth, pleasure is a freedom-song.
And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart;
yet I would have you lose your heart in the singing.
Some of your youth seek pleasure as if it were all,
and they are judged and rebuked.
I would not judge nor rebuke them.
I would have them seek.
For they shall find pleasure, but not alone;
seven are her sisters, and the least of them
is more beutiful than pleasure.
Have you heard of the man who was digging
in the earth for roots and found treasure?
And some of your elders remember pleasures
with regret like wrongs committed in drunkeness.
But regret is the beclouding of the mind and not its chastisment.
They should remember their pleasures with gratitude,
as they would the harvest of a summer.
Yet if it comforts them to regret,
let them be comforted.
And there are among you those who
are neither young to seek or old to remember;
And in their fear of seeking and remembering
they shun all pleasures, lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it.
But even in their foregoing is their pleasure.
And thus they too find a treasure though they dig
for roots with quivering hands.
But tell me, who is he that offend the spirit?
Shall the nightingale offend the stillness of the night, or the firefly the stars?
And shall your flame or your smoke burden the wind?
Think you the spirit is a still pool that you can trouble with a staff?
Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure
you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being.
Who knows but that which seems omitted today,
waits for tomorow?
Even your body knows its heritage
and its rightful need will not be deceived.
And your body is the harp of your soul,
And is yours to bring forth sweet music
from it or confused sound.
And now you ask in your heart,
“How shall we distinguish that which is good
in pleasure from that which is not good?”
Go to your fields and your gardens,
and you shall learn that it is the pleasure
of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower
to yeild its honey to the bee.
For the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
and to both, bee and flower,
the giving and the receiving of pleasure
is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese,
be in your pleasures like the flowers
and the bees.
Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet
In your pleasures, be like the flowers and the bees.