Kahil Gibran’s, “The Prophet,” will be freed from the fetters of copyright protection on New Year’s Day, 2019 and enter the public domain. I think it has been in our domain since it was published in 1923 in New York City and translated into over 108 languages – the only thing that changes in a few days is the payment of royalties.
Every writer speaks of being published. We like to talk about advances, but I think what most of us really care about is influence: how will our words enter the public conversation, shift the discussion, and lead others to clarity. No one talks of receiving a large payment to keep their work unpublished.
By the measure of influence, Gibran is a wonderful success. I’ve read, reread, and savored his words so they are woven into my thinking, forming my way of understanding, and shaping my way of describing ideas.
“For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
Gibran writes here about being a parent. His words also apply to a mentor, a philosopher, a gardener – anyone who nurtures something. Gibran reminds them they are also cherished.
Gibran was a bow that was stable, from which his words, as living arrows were set forth, and they found their mark, and continue to find their mark in our infinite public domain.