Yesterday we obeyed kings - Khalil Gibran

Reading Khalil Gibran today from "Children of Gods, Scions of Apes"

Animal, Gorilla, Ape, Primate, Herbivore, Silver BackHow amazing time is, and how amazing we are. Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.

Yesterday we complained of time and feared it, but today we love and embrace it. Indeed, we have begun to perceive its purposes and characteristics, and to comprehend its secrets and enigmas.

Yesterday we crawled apprehensively, like phantoms quaking between the terrors of night and the horrors of day. Today we stride zealously toward the summits of mountains, where raging storms ensconce themselves and blazing lightning and crashing thunder are engendered.

Yesterday we ate bread kneaded with blood and drank water mingled with tears. But today we dine on manna from the hands of dawn-sprites and sip wine fragrant with the breaths of spring.

Yesterday we were playthings in the hand of fate, and fate was a drunken tyrant, bending us to the right and then to the left. But today fate has sobered up, and we play with it and it plays back; we jest with it and it laughs; then we lead it and it follows behind us.

Yesterday we burned incense before graven images and immolated sacrifices before irascible gods. But today we light incense only for ourselves and offer sacrifices only to our own essences. For the greatest and most gloriously beautiful of deities has made his temple in our breasts.

Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to the truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.

Yesterday we humbly lowered our eyes before priests and dreaded the visions of oracles. But today the times have changed and we have changed, and we stare only at the countenance of the sun, listen only to the melodies of the sea, and tremble only with the typhoon.

Yesterday we demolished the thrones of our souls in order to build from them the tombs of our grandfathers. But today our souls have been transformed into holy altars, which the ghosts of dusty centuries cannot approach and the grizzled fingers of the dead cannot touch.

We were a silent, hidden thought in the folds of oblivion, and we have become a voice that causes the heavens to tremble.

We were a faint spark buried in ash, but have become a fire blazing above the sheltered ravine.

How many are the nights that we stayed up late, cradling our heads on the dirt with snow for a blanket, weeping for lost friendships and possessions. How many are the days we spent lying about like sheep without a shepherd, nibbling at our thoughts and chewing our emotions, remaining hungry and thirsty. How often we stood between waning day and onrushing night, mourning our fading youth, yearning for an unknown person, lonely for some obscure reason, staring at a dark, empty sky, listening to the groans of silence and nothingness.

Those centuries passed, like a thieving wolf-pack through a cemetery, but today the sky has awakened and we have awakened. We spend white nights on celestial beds, staying up late with our imaginations, keeping our thoughts company and embracing our passions. Flames glimmer all around us, and we seize them with steady fingers; the spirits of genies ascend all around us, and we address them unequivocally. Hosts of the angels pass by us, and we entice them by the yearning in our hearts and make them drunk with the rhapsodies of our spirits.

Yesterday we were and today we have become, and this is the will of the gods for their children. What, then, is your will, scions of the apes?

Have you advanced even one stride forward since you issued from fissures in the earth? Or have you lifted your gaze toward the heights since the demons opened your eyes? Have you pronounced a single word from the Book of Truth since the serpents kissed your mouths with theirs?

Or have you listened even an instant to the song of life since death stopped up your ears?

I have been passing by you for seven thousand years and have seen you metamorphose like insects in the corners of grottoes. Seven minutes ago I looked at you from behind the pane of my window and found you ambling in filthy alleyways, led by the devils of apathy, the chains of servitude shackling your feet and the wings of death fluttering above your heads. You are today as you were yesterday and shall remain tomorrow and thereafter, just as I saw you in the beginning.

Yesterday we were and today we have become, for this is the wont of the gods with the children of gods. What, then, is the way of apes with you, O scions of the apes?

-Kahlil Gibran