Today, April 28, is Arbor Day here in the USA. It is the day when we again focus on our environment and nature and everyone is encouraged to plant a tree in order to replenish our natural resources. In many primary schools, a special ceremony is held and a sapling (an immature or “baby” tree) is planted and the students are told to “watch” it grow and are educated on tree-care. The U.S. Forest Service and/or individual state forestry agencies sometimes provide trees for the students to take home and plant in their yards.
In elementary school, we were required to memorize poetry in English then stand up in front of our class and recite the poem using American Sign Language (ASL). The purpose of this exercise was to teach us, as Deaf students, the ability to translate from English into ASL and to learn the essentials of English. This poem, The Daffodils, was one of those poems and I remember well the difficulties that I had committing it to memory.
I was in secondary school when I discovered the poetry of the Lebanese-American, Kahlil Gibran. By the time I read his work, “On Clothes,” my identical twin brother and myself were already staunch bare-practitioners and ever since that moment, I have been an avid fan of Mr. Gibran and his words. He remains one of my favorite poets of all-time even today.
This poem, “on Clothes,” continues to resonate with me. Not only does Kahlil Gibran discount the superficiality of clothing, he extols the virtues of nudity and simplicity. His work, in its entirety, follows below.