'as living arrows are sent forth'

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On Children

by Kahlil Gibran


On Children 


Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

by Kahlil Gibran


Poem as Friend to Hafsah

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On Childrenby Kahlil Gibran

In this episode of our podcast, you will hear Hafsah talking about the poem that has been a friend to her: ’On Children' by Kahlil Gibran.

Hafsah visited The Poetry Exchange at John Rylands Library in Manchester. We’re very grateful to John Rylands Library for hosting The Poetry Exchange. Do visit them for further inspiration:


Hafsah Aneela Bashir is a writer and you can follow her work here:



Hafsah is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Lesley Bennett and Michael Schaeffer.

’On Children' is read by Fiona Bennett.


We talk to people about the poem that has been a friend to them.

In exchange we create a gift for them, a bespoke reading of their chosen poem inspired by the conversation. Our award-winning podcast shares these unique and powerful stories of connection with people across the world. 


We set up an intimate environment for these conversations at festivals, in arts, cultural and public spaces across the country. We also hold exchanges ‘long distance’. Our visitors come from all walks of life and we also feature well-known personalities such as Andrew Scott, Maxine Peake, Roy McFarlane and Paterson Joseph.