24 January 2010

falsehood in silky garments

I am bored with gabbers and their gab; my soul abhors them.
&#160 When I wake up in the morning to peruse the letters and magazines placed by my bedside, I find them full of gab; all I see is loose talk empty of meaning but stuffed with hypocrisy.
&#160 When I sit by the window to lower the veil of slumber from my eyes and sip my Turkish coffee, Mister Gabber appears before me, hopping, crying, and grumbling. He condescends to sip my coffee and smoke my cigarettes.
&#160 When I go to work Mister Gabber follows, whispering in my ears and tickling my sensitive brain. When I try to get rid of him he giggles and is soon midstream again, in his flood of meaningless talk.
&#160 When I go to the market, Mister Gabber stands at the door of every shop passing judgment on people. I see him even upon the faces of the silent for he accompanies them too. Thy are unaware of his presence, yet he disturbs them.
&#160 If I sit down with a friend Mister Gabber, uninvited, makes a third. If I elude him, he manages to remain so close that the echo of his voice irritates me and upsets my stomach like spoiled meat.
&#160 When I visit the courts and the institutions of learning, I find him and his father and mother dressing Falsehood in silky garments and Hypocrisy in a magnificent cloak and a beautiful turban.
&#160 When I call at factory offices, there too, to my surprise, I find Mister Gabber, in the midst of his mother, aunt, and grandfather chattering and flapping his thick lips. And his kinfolks applaud him and mock me.
&#160 On my visit to the temples and other places of worship, there he is, seated on a throne, his head crowned and a gleaming sceptre in his hand.
&#160 Returning home at eventide, I find him there, too. From the ceiling he hangs like a snake; or crawls like a boa in the four corners of my house.
&#160 In short, Mister Gabber is found everywhere; within and beyond the skies, on land and underground, on the wings of the ether and upon the waves of the sea, in forests, caves, and on the mountaintops.
&#160 Where can lover of silence and tranquility find rest from him? Will God ever have mercy on my soul and grant me the grace of dumbness so I may reside in the paradise of Silence?
&#160 Is there in this universe a nook where I can go and live happily by myself?
&#160 Is there any place where there is no traffic in empty talk?
&#160 Is there on this earth one who does not worship himself talking?
&#160 Is there any person among all persons whose mouth is not a hiding place for the knavish Mister Gabber?

Khalil Gibran, Mister Gabber (Thoughts and Meditations, 1969: 40-42)