‘Song of the Flower’ by Kahlil Gibran is a seven stanza poem that is separated into uneven sets of lines. The longest stanza contains ten lines, and the shortest, three. The poet has chosen not to unify the poem through a consistent rhyme scheme, but instead to make use of repetition at the start of a number of different lines. A reader can take note of this technique in the first and sixth stanza with the repetition of the starting phrase, “I am.”
The poem begins with the speaker stating that the poem is not being narrated from the perspective of a human being. If one does not consider the title, the identity of the speaker is a mystery at first. The poem will provide a great amount of context through its text which will eventually bring one to the correct conclusion. The speaker is talking through the voice of a flower.
The first stanzas describe when it is flowers are most active and beneficial to the world. They spreads their fragrances through the air and help to announce the sunrise alongside the birds.
The second half of the poem speaks on how flowers are used for different occasions. The speaker says that “I am…” used in a range of objects and events, alongside the living and the dead.
In the final lines the flower-speaker asserts an opinion that humankind needs to look to flowers for advice on how to face the world optimistically.
You can read the full poem Song of the Flower here.
Analysis of Song of the Flower
I am a kind word uttered and repeated
By the voice of Nature;
Reared in the lap of Summer and I
Slept in the bed of Autumn.
In the first stanza of this piece the speaker begins by describing itself, not as a person of any particular type, but as a…
…kind word uttered and repeated
By the voice of nature;
From this first line, if one does not take the title into consideration, it is a mystery as to what exactly the speaker is embodying. This being who is narrating the poem is a force produced by nature— the epitome of nature’s goodness as felt by any who enter into a landscape. This “kind force they embody is “repeated” over and over by “nature” and spread throughout the world.
The next lines confront the reader with a second depiction of what exactly the speaker is. The lines state that the speaker is a moment, “a star,” which has “fallen from the” sky and landed “upon the green carpet.” This force is similar to the one mentioned in the first lines as it is also beautiful, powerful, and intangible.
In the next “I am” statement, the speaker is described as “the daughter” who has been conceived by “the elements.” The following sections go line by line to depict the birth of this speaker— stating that the force was “Reared” by “Summer” and…
Slept in the bed of Autumn.
This being, who is not defined in any concrete way, aside from being associated with nature, seems to come from time itself. It has been nurtured by the natural changes of the world and therefore made into the being it is today.
At dawn I unite with the breeze
In bidding the light farewell.
In the second stanza of ‘Song of the Flower’, which is only made out of four lines, the speaker goes into more detail regarding the ways of its life.
At the beginning of the day, this being “unite[s] with the breeze.” It bears a portion of the responsibility in bringing about the day and “announce[ing]” that the dark is receding and “light” is “coming.” These two lines bring to mind all the symbols with which one might associate the beginning of a new day— from the sound of birds to the growing warmth of the air. It is likely that a reader should be coming to a greater understanding of what exactly is being spoken about. These are all the characteristics of a flower.
The speaker describes how in the evening, at “eventide” he “join[s]” the “birds” and together they “bid…the light farewell.”
The plains are decorated with
Is scented with my fragrance.
In the third stanza, which is only three lines, the descriptions continue and expand to discuss how the speaker as a flower or flowers, is spread out over the plain. It’s being is used as “decorat[ion]” for the “plains” of the world. It can also be sensed in the air. The “fragrance” of flowers is everywhere.
As I embrace Slumber the eyes of
The only eye of the day.
The fourths stanza speaks on the fact that this essence of the flower is watched over by “Night” while it slumbers. Then when the day comes, it “stare[s] at the sun.”
I drink dew for wine, and hearken to
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.
In the next three lines of ‘Song of the Flower’, the poem begins to come to its conclusion. The speaker continues to give more details about its life and states that it “drink[s] dew for wine” and is drawn to the “voices of the birds.” It is easy to imagine the life of a flower through these words.
The poet is complexly personifying the life of flowers in an elegant and beautiful way. It is seen as being something untouched by the true darkness of the world. It lives in a world of light and peace.
I am the lover’s gift; I am the wedding wreath;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.
In the sixth stanza, which provides the best example of repetition in the poem, the poet puts forward four “I am” statements that define the force of the flower’s life further. It is through these lines that a reader, who does not acknowledge the title of the poem, will fully understand what element of nature is being described.
The speaker states that like a flower, it is the “gift” of a “lover” and a part of the “wedding wreath.” It is also,
…the memory of a moment of happiness;
One can keep a flower in memory of happier times, but also as a “gift” to the dead. Flowers symbolize a wide range of emotions and occasions.
The last line of this stanza states that the flower is “part of joy and a part of sorrow.” Although death might touch this force of life, it is never truly engulfed in darkness. It lives a life of beauty which sometimes corresponds with the more depressing moments.
But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.
In the final stanza of the poem the speaker concludes by solidifying the fact that a flower never sees anything other than “the light.” It forms actually keeps this from being a possibility as it…
..never look[s] down to see [its] shadow.
The last line adds a deeper level of meaning to the entire piece as the speaker, still talking as an embodied flower, states that humankind should learn from its wisdom. One should never look down, but remain perpetually optimistic.