Ode to Mother Kali

Mother Kali

They do not sell your statues in the shops, O Mother.
Buddha, Ganesh, Lakshmi, all in vogue,
adorning lobbies of comfortable houses,
prosperity to those who already have,
a scent of spirituality to mask the rot

but you, Mother, are not in fashion.
no marketing niche for you,
no category
the analytic mind sees you coming,
scythe gleaming in the sun
to once and for all
cleave the Real from the unreal
it drops everything
and flees

Mother, we talk amongst ourselves
about how life is suffering
life is unfair
sometimes I imagine
that when I get to the soul’s world
I can write God a strongly worded letter
demanding immediate and radical changes
to the Cosmic Game
before I agree to come back down again

but you,
you are just having the time of your life,
are you not?

and those who come to know your dance
can see it everywhere

I bet that was you
with your arms around your long-suffering servant
as the car gracefully pirouettes through the air
with him in it
I see you taunting the forces of death
just try
i dare you
i double triple dare you
touch him
go on
cross that line
and see what happens

I bet that was you
coasting inland
atop a chariot of tidal waves
gathering souls to yourself
like a blackjack dealer in Vegas
ready to spread them out again
on freshly-watered soils

I bet that was you
standing on top of the crossbar in 1988
when Charlie Redmond took that penalty
and you were laughing your head off

I bet that was you
dancing with a fury
and a speed
that makes you seem everywhere at once
stampeding through opposing armies
like a Nebraska linebacker
as tanks shatter through walls
as men pierce through boys
and the game gathers pace

And I know that is you
standing behind your chosen sons
the great Masters
who like the Buddha
will not move
will not sleep
until your six billion children
one by one
rub their eyes
and wonder why it took so long
to truly live

your dearest, dearest, dearest sons
dearer to you than your own Life
yet you strap them to the leaden harness of a human body
as they hold their nose and take the plunge
immersed and alone in the sea of ignorance
but you stand beside their bed
as they lie hooked up to the machine of maya
you hold their hands
as they siphon the ingratitude and begrudgery of the world
out through their very bones
Oh Mother, often I marvel how they can stay on earth for so long
and when I do
in the silence
I sense the starlit footprints of Your Compassion.

Mother, the PR department have been on to me
they say you are giving God a bad name
you are not projecting the right image
they have given me a 492-page manual on politically correct etiquette for cosmic gods
they want you to study it
they want you to put some clothes on
and behave yourself
maybe then, they say, they’ll even be able to sell your statues in the shops
but their stilted ideas about compassion
bind and blind compassion itself
because the more I discover you
I see your naked sword is indistinguishable from your cooling touch
your reaping is indistinguishable from your sowing
that the hour of death is as much your Compassion
as the hour of birth
and that the entire universe
is but a one-act play
of your Love


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#1 Nirbhasa Magee on 11.24.10 at 11:36 pm

Thank you, Lakshmi for your comments. My hope and prayer is that, in my heart, I will always remain a 5 year old child.

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