11 July 2011

Shiva

Astute or possibly even regular readers of thousandeye will note an absence of poetry lately, for prose has been my main occupation. Perhaps stemming to some degree from my obsession with the Jack Grapes Method Writing instruction to avoid the presonal pronoun "I" when telling a story, the following poem appeared today. True, I only had the chance to flick through some third-hand course notes once for five minutes at a friend's place in New York, but this advice from Jack really stuck in my head and has shaped my writing a great deal. Somewhere in my papers is my own nascent lesson plan for teaching Creative Writing.


Whatever is done
In my name
Marches to the tune
Of the Cosmic Dance.
They call me Shiva,
He of endless names;
I dance in the Heart of the Maker,
To every song sung and ever to be sang.
The destroyer,
Reckoner of a thousand chants;
I am the praise of the infidel
And the bane of the righteous.
Taste the burning-tongue
that lashed Sodom and Gomorrah:
I decorate the battlefields of every General,
make babies cry and mothers weep.
I own the theme to every tragedy
That Shakespeare lumed
With his pen-knife-life
Far from absent wife.
Hymnals holding happy hymns
Herald my triumph;
I held the hand of Horace,
And penned the paeans of Homer.
Bards great and small everywhere
Warm my supper each night,
Some gentle by lonely fires
Amidst wandering sheep,
Others rigid stiff at lectern
In packed electric halls.
Every tale knows my touch.
When the citizens of empires erupt,
Conjoin in blazing outrage,
I stamp the floor,
Cheer and jeer the loudest.
When magma seethes
And the very earth
Steams and fumes,
I exult ‘neath rain of rocks.
I am the aroma of the ghee
Burning in lamps on ghats
By the Ganges,
Our Great Mother Ganga,
That pours from my locks
Over cold Tibetan rocks.
My voice is a light
Of regeneration
Unto the world.

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