Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shiva on the Plains



and Shiva dancing in the flames,
and Shiva dancing in the flames,
and Shiva telling us through flames,
the world, the world is fire.

hot blood on the running plains,
the young flamekeeper master
killed by old, old hatreds,
the young boy cut and bleeding,
his blood running on blood-red stones,
and Shiva dances in the blaze,
creating, destroying,
the red light of heaven in his eyes,
he smiles forever, engulfed in flames,
the room burning, the house,
timbers blazing up between close walls,
the neighborhood ablaze, the city leering
on the hill, orange light rising through the pall,
smoke spilling across the hills, the valley
pounded by sun, the world itself in flames.

the god looks on and dances,
the red light of heaven in his burning eyes,
smiling at the stones;
beneath his feet, the corpses in the sun,
rooted dismembered trees,
trampled and burning, the perfume of death, reborn,
wild grasses and circling carrion birds,
the soil of the sun,
the young boy cut and scattered,
the cables of his life spread
split across the anvil of the sun,
fire burning over all, hot red sun,
the sky itself aflame,
and Shiva dances in the flames,
and Shiva dancing in the flames,
creating, destroying,
crushing the demons of noise,
dancing in the circling blaze,
a fiery diamond in his grasp,
his hands a flicker of blood,
his hands drumming the beating heart,
drumming the rhythm of the mountains singing,
the soil of the sun,
the lights of heaven in the god’s still eyes.

the world is burning, the world is fire,
the watchfires built high, immense upon
the anvil of the sun, air striking blows like fever,
stark and shaking and gigantic,
vultures gathering around the torch of self-immolation,
feeding on the well-cooked dead,
and Shiva dances in the flames,
staring across the shimmering devastation,
the world a wall of fire, hot blood hiding in the stone,
red tongues licking at the sun,
burning every wall on which the shadows flicker,
destroying what the shaper sees
enscribed within the circle
of the known, knowing what the red eyes read,
destroying all that has been made, what will be made,
weak hands sifting through the bloodied ashes
of the sun, the young boy cut and shattered on the stone,
water pouring through him and becoming steam,
and Shiva smiling in the flames.

it is enough, Lord, it is too much,
and Shiva dances in the flames,
and Shiva dances in the flames,
and Shiva dancing in the flames,
and Shiva telling us through flames,
the world,
the world is fire.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

This is beyond my ken. I did look up 'Shiva' but clearly a quick scan through Wikipedia isn't going to be of much help to me. It reads well but the meaning is lost on me and I don't know enough to impose a meaning on it that I'd feel comfortable with.

2:20 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

No worries. I'm very close to this "image of god" partly because I grew up with it. These South Indian icon metalwork plates have always been around the house since we came back from India in 1965. They're one of my treasures, that I asked my Mom to leave me when she died, years ago, and she did.

Shiva for me is an incredibly rich set of symbols, and myths, and stories. Creator and Destroyer. Shiva Nataraj, the god who dances creation into existence and who also ceases Creation when he stops dancing. There are so many stories and tales, and they're all true.

9:36 AM  

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