[REVIEW] After Fire Comes The Rain by Khalil-Ghibran

July 13, 2016

"It is inescapable that writers and composers borrow from each other, consciously or unconsciously. This is true not only because there is a finite number of words and musical notes, but also because we are all vessels of a shared culture. In After the Fire Comes the Rain, Khalil-Ghibran dips so liberally into the common well that sounding familiar sometimes seems to be his objective.

Examples of the borrowed, or familiar, may be found on virtually every page. The title of this poetry collection is taken from Tupac Shakur’s song, Untouchable: “After the fire comes the rain, After the pleasure there’s pain”. Then there’s Mr. Ghibran’s name, with a slightly altered spelling, which is the same as that of the renowned poet, Khalil Gibran. There are more, many more citable instances. For example, Mr. Ghibran’s “I Envy the Dead” mirrors a line from Ecclesiastes: “I envy those who are dead and gone…”

Mr. Ghibran does not suffer from a lack of originality. On the contrary, he deliberately mines cultural touchstones for the intellectual and emotion associations they yield. Mr. Ghibran’s poetry is deeply personal and yet utilizes broad cultural references.

Mr. Ghibran has a deft hand. His writing is pleasing to the ear and thought-provoking. My favorite, and one of the more literal poems, is “You Can’t Get To Heaven”. Here Mr. Ghibran offers the familiar image of a gatekeeper who scours a book looking for the name of someone wanting to get into heaven. Entrance is denied because, ” You can’t get to heaven Until you let it go”. Given the collection’s title (from the posthumously published After the Fire Comes the Rain), the poem’s refrain–Until you give it up, Until that time, Got to live it up–carries particular significance.

Mr. Ghibran’s poems work. They invite re-reading and reflection. I hope Mr. Ghibran continues to write. He has a lot to say and knack for knowing how to say it."

After Fire Comes The Rain:
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