By Himalayan Tenzin - Thursday, October 02, 2014

“I was eighteen years of age when love opened my eyes with its magic rays and touched my spirit for the first time with its fiery fingers, and Selma Karamy was the first woman who awakened my spirit with her beauty and led me into the garden of high affection, where days pass like dreams and nights like weddings.”

This is how “The Broken Wings” starts; the poetic novella of ten chapters consisting precise expressions of emotions and relations, and one of the finest works of Kahlil Gibran.
Everyone has his/her own first lovestory. It would be either sweet and accomplished or one-sided and unrequited or broken and miserable.  But successful relation that has led into marriage never makes a good lovestory – I observe – or even if it does, it never produces aching sentimental songs and sorrowful lyrics upon its recollection to one as does by the love that was intervened and ended so callously.

We remember our first love because it opens the bud of our maturity and measurement of the feeling is deepest then.  “ Every young man remembers his first love and tries to recapture that strange hour, the memory of which changes his deepest feeling and makes him so happy in spite of all the bitterness of its mystery. “

Set in the backdrop of corrupt Lebanon society during Gibran’s youth, The Broken Wings is the recount of the poet’s first love whom he loses not only to rapacious power holders in the town but also to the ultimate death.  

Selma Karamy is the woman “who taught me ( Gibran ) to worship beauty by the example of her own beauty and revealed to me the secret of love by her affection; she was the one who first sang to me the poetry of real life.” But fate turns against their love and Selma is forfeited by her father, Farris Effandi Karamy, in marriage to Mansour Bey Galib, the nephew of the Bishop, Bulos Galib.

Against her will, she is betrothed to the miser who hatched the proposal of marriage with a selfish motive of acquiring Selma’s inheritance as she’s the only successor of her father’s prosperous fortune. In solitude, the old man soon passes away, as wished by his fortune hunters, entrusting the poet to care his daughter as his own sister, but only to be soon followed by his daughter who gets rescued by her son – “born at dawn and died at dusk” – from the oppression she suffers miserably from her miserly husband.

The book ends, “As the grave digger disappeared behind the poplar trees, I couldn’t resist anymore, I dropped down on Selma’s grave and wept.” So did my heart, hearing the poet’s mourn over his precious loss, in the dead silence of the night. 

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  1. Indeed a broken-hearted completion to have felt. Manifestly, most of the love tales have as their ends as doleful as they should be to gather sentimentalism from the readers or else the readers won't relish the stories(especially love stories). Delightful post Sonam. Hope everything is going well everyday. Take Care. :)


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