Friday, August 5, 2011

Opening the Eye

Opening the Eye

This old poem is another experiment with Chaucer's Rhyme Royal form. It is based on the legend that if you repeat Shiva's name enough times, he will open his eye and destroy the universe.
 
Awake, o dweller in the barren plains
Of dust and ash, of long-forgotten bones!
Thy ancient slumber hath endured too long
And blind men worship thee in cold black stones.
O God, destroy till naught of life remains!
Thy potent power shall blot out a race
Of cowards, cozened by a shepherd’s song
Of life eternal in his father’s grace.
The time hath come for men and gods to die:
I chant the name to open Shiva’s Eye.

’Tis neither bliss nor loss of Self I seek,
Not dissolution into life divine,
No paradise is where my path shall end:
These foolish faiths are not as strong as mine.
For all but Nothing changes form, is weak,
Subjected to the whims of selfish Time;
But thou, o God, can all these wrongs amend
By granting me thy burning gaze sublime!
The time hath come for men and gods to die:
I chant the name to open Shiva’s Eye.

Both joy and grief are simply shadows cast
By dense obstructions on the brightest day
(Remove the body and the image flees,
Remove the sun and shadows pass away).
The universe is but a soul held fast
Upon the Balance that may rise or fall;
Its fate depends on what the scale decrees
But none shall exit from this judgement hall.
The time hath come for men and gods to die:
I chant the name to open Shiva’s Eye.

Enough! Man’s “laws” and “systems” are but this:
The games that come when idle minds conspire;
Let Babble take the name Philosophy
And make Religion its perverted sire.
So self-assured, man leads himself amiss
(As if with thinking seconds can be bought!),
Expecting something that can never be
Except within his own deluded thought.
The time hath come for men and gods to die:
I chant the name to open Shiva’s Eye.

Mistake me not, there is no vengeance here
Within this heart for my misguided kin;
’Tis only seeing all that they have lost,
’Tis truly knowing what they could have been.
But Pity acts as servant-girl to Fear,
And that is gone from out my heart as well:
They sold their souls, now they must pay the cost
Of entrance into their internal hell.
The time hath come for men and gods to die:
I chant the name to open Shiva’s eye.

The heavens quiver at my solemn hymn,
A paean driven both by hate and love,
And angels hide themselves within their wings
As star-shine darkens in the sky above.
A world of light is now a wasteland dim
And fast approaching is its date with death
When all shall perish: just like finite things,
The vast immortals draw their final breath.
The time hath come for men and gods to die:
I chant the name to open Shiva’s Eye.

Awake, my God, and take this life away!
In brilliant splendor let me be embraced.
When pain and pleasure hath become the same
The only hope is that they be erased.
Too long in coming is the fateful day
When sunlight falls before descending night:
The Lord Destroyer wraps the world in flame
As all creation comes into His Sight.
The time hath come for men and gods to die:
Shiva, Shiva, Shiva, Shiva, Shiva…