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Tennesse Williams summed it up a bit more succinctly but without the poetic profundity - He simply said ""we are prisoners in our own skins .

Gibran is trying to express something sublime ...difficult if not impossible to decribe the sublime - in fact I was put firmly in my place once by a professor who explained that something "sublime" is beyond explanation - bit like God really - you may know it or feel it but not describe it .... and as the Bhudists would have it ..don't bother trying ... Here you sure can feel it!...
Read by Shane Morris
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Kahlil Gibran was the key figure in a Romantic movement that transformed Arabic literature in the first half of the twentieth century.
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Full Poem:

Defeat, my Defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;
You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,
And sweeter to my heart than all world-glory.

Defeat, my Defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,
Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot
And not to be trapped by withering laurels.
And in you I have found aloneness
And the joy of being shunned and scorned.

Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword and shield,
In your eyes I have read
That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,
And to be understood is to be leveled down,
And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness
And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed.

Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,
You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,
And none but you shall speak to me of the beating of wings,
And urging of seas,
And of mountains that burn in the night,
And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.
Charlie Chaplin's inspirational final speech in "The Great Dictator"

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