Gibran, Kahlil. The Earth Gods
. New York: Knopf, 1981 (originally published in 1931). Gibran: 1883-1931
When the night of the twelfth æon fell,
And silence, the high tide of night, swallowed the hills,
Three earth-born gods, the Master Titans of life,
Appeared upon the mountains.
Rivers ran about their feet;
The mist floated across their breasts,
And their heads rose in majesty above the world.
Then they spoke, and like distant thunder
Their voices rolled over the plains.
The Earth Gods was the last book of Kahlil Gibran that was published within his lifetime. Published originally in 1931, this book reached Gibran in that form only two weeks before his death. Gibran himself had a particular fondness for this book over the others because he said "it was written out of childbirth and child-bearing."
The Earth Gods is a book in dialogue form that accounts the conversations between the three Earth Gods, known only as "First God," "Second God," and "Third God." It takes place after what seems to be an armageddon, and the gods discuss a great amount of death around them.
The three gods are representative of recognizable elements. The first god seems to embody compassion and the standard concept of good; the problem is that, after so much death, he has worn himself out of caring and is very melancholy and distressed. This god expresses the will to die in the first pages of the book, but cannot because he is immortal.
The second god embodies basic concepts of brutality and evil, but his connection with nature and the natural order of things is made clear. This god states that he could never bring himself to die because of his obligation and devotion to the support of the passing of seasons, and the fedding of plants. He identifies himself as the source of hope, filling the hearts of men with love that turns to pain, and the source of longing for better things that brings rise to all progress.
The third god has no such obvious embodiment. While the first and second gods speak of their respective pains, and the weariness of unending time; the third god interjects only to point out that life is re-emerging. He informs his brothers that man still survives. In fragmented parts he tells of a man and woman who are meeting, and who rejuvenate the world. The first and second gods, good and evil, are too involved to notice or care until life is back in full spring. The third god seems to be humanity itself, gaining strength as the men of earth do:
Now I will rise and strip me of time and space,
And I will dance in that field untrodden,
And the dancer's feet will move with my feet;
And I will sing in that higher air,
And a human voice will throb within my voice.
We shall pass into twilight;
Perchance to wake to the dawn of another world.
But love shall stay,
And his finger-marks shall not be erased.
The blessed forge burns,
The sparks rise, and each spark is a sun,
Better it is for us, and wiser,
To seek a shadowed nook and sleep in our earth divinity,
And let love, human and frail, command the coming day.
When the world is populated, the gods sleep, and each new day for them is a new world for us.