Gibran, Kahlil. Sand and Foam. New York: Knopf, 1982 (originally published in 1926). Gibran: 1883-1931

Sand and Foam is a rather slim book by Kahlil Gibran in which he has compiled a vast number of extremely short aphorisms, poems, and parables. The first entry is as follows:

I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and foam.
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain

As in his other works, Gibran expresses his feelings about religion. Many of the entries involve his philosophy on Christianity.

The first thought of God was an angel.
The first word of God was a man.


On my way to the Holy City I met another pilgrim and I asked him, "Is this indeed the way to the Holy City?"
And he said, "Follow me, and you will reach the Holy City in a day and a night."
And I followed him. And we walked many days and many nights, yet we did not reach the Holy City.
And what was to my surprise he became angry with me because he had misled me.


Once every hundred years Jesus of Nazareth meets Jesus of the Christian in a garden among the hills of Lebanon. And they talk long; and each time Jesus of Nazareth goes away saying to Jesus of the Christian, "My friend, I fear we shall never, never agree."

Gibran was born in Lebanon and later moved to the Unites States. He was familiar with both Islam and Christianity, and this is likely the comparison that he is making in the last entry above. Gibran's book also contains less religiously-oriented entries concerning faith and spirituality.

A pearl is a temple built by pain around a grain of sand.
What longing built our bodies and around what grains?


Do not the spirits who dwell in the ether envy man his pain?


Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth.


If all they say of good and evil were true, then my life is but one long crime.


A thousand years ago I my neighbor said to me, "I hate life, for it is naught but a thing of pain."
And yesterday I passed by a cemetary and saw life dancing upon his grave.

Gibran expresses his feelings about love, poetry, wisdom, and writing in this book. It is a short read, but is so well written and profound that it is quite enchanting even the second or third time that it is read. Gibran repeatedly stresses the equality of all humanity, saying that he is neither above the beggar nor below the prophet. He stresses the importance of understanding and accepting even those whom you would not normally approve of.

This particular book has an amazing ability to draw you into it, which is odd for a book of its format. Usually it would take a good novel that is well written and exciting to actually draw a reader in, but this book is fragmented and contains no plot or story line. As it is, Gibran does not need an interesting plot to keep the readers attantion; his message itself is enough. Sand and Foam has the potential to bring someone to an epiphany. I highly reccommend this book to anyone who is interested in spirituality, peace, or happiness. Gibran gives the sort of advice that applies to everyone, and would undoubtedly make the world a bit better were it taken.

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