The Crescent God: A Hymn

 

The Crescent God: A Hymn
Badri Raina
 
Again I see you vividly, stationed
bare-skin, unperplexed, astride the
furthest snows of mount Kailasa’s
towering peak that holds aloft
the canopy of twilight sky, your
fearful trident brow bedecked by
copper-crescent moon, divine Soma
of ancient lore, immortal residue
of Neptune’s fateful churning before
the universe began.


Your eyes,
inward drunk perpetually at
the blue ocean of your throat,
swivel forever into the remote
discotheque of your cosmic navel,
except when consort Parvati her playful
petal palms placed upon your lid,
when to save the world from darkness
your dreaded tertiary you revealed;
or when your macho Rudra form
combusted pitiful Kamadev in his
preordained sacrifice, and over the
prostrate Gaya and Apsmara, the
wicked Asuras, you danced your
resistless, all-ending Tandava.


Coiled within the fiery fold
of your lotus leg, and upon your
restful drooping palm lie rolled
a weighted universe and the awful
energy of calm. From the centre
of your pyramid head, stirless
in trance, cascade the waters of
Himavan’s boisterous offspring,
the mighty Ganga, and dance through
procreative night in vaulting
bursts of concupiscent delight.
Your blue-toned bust and half-roused
serpent upon puissant arm,
your tiger-skin charm, worn off
the beast the churlish Rishis sent in
cuckolded wrath to your intended harm,
cause waves of holy lust, as when
imbecile Daksha’s wilful daughter, Sati,
after her fiery fate, took birth
again as Ganga’s voluptuous sister,
Parvati, who broke your ceaseless
trance of aeons through devoted
longing of a lifetime past, and
wedded you afresh after the feast
of horned and one-eyed man and beast
that accompanied your notorious advance.
Together you begot mightily the
six-headed and twelve-armed scourge
of demon, Taraka, war-like Karttikeya.
That accomplished, you clasped your
robust forms in unbroken embrace
spanning a thousand epochs, and
fused into one composite truth,
the androgynous Ardhanari.


Some say this was not the end, but
that you two did contend
in another protracted play whereby, in
body’s declension, became for posterity
primal Linga and Yoni, symbols
of eternity, the pivot and periphery
atonce of the revolving universe,
holding this blue ball of generation spinning
upon your tireless, one-legged dance.


Nor is this all; for, prince of anti-thesis,
clad in mantle of mortal ash, you are
as well the lord of catastrophe.


Conglomerate god of cosmic collage,
Yours the Tandava, you the Nataraj.
Truth of Truth, magnificent mirage,
of all the Isvaras of Brahma’s manifest
pantheon, you seem to our human sense
least alien, for in your confluence
of contraries you are, like earth-born men,
beast and clown, yogi and glutton,
giver and devourer all in one.


O procreator par-excellence,
custodian of man’s mortal dance,
who will surpass the serene
of your poppied trance, or
the ecstasy of your power. God of
purest paradox, in the very vortex
of living joy we have knowledge
of the dust and ash you wear,
and prepare for the destined hour
when with the slightest tremor of your
lashes, borrowed bone you shall recover.
O flesh beyond flesh, joy beyond
sensible joy, god of profoundest alloy,
while we seek for purposes forever
in linear stance, the burden of your
Dumaroo beat is plain and clear:
All creation is zestful now,
All creation is truthful never.
Comments
thanks for posting my poem; you forgot to mention me as the author of t he hymn. kidnly rectify. the hymn is t he title poem of my first volume of poems, pulished by Writers Workshop, Calcutta in 1983. You will agree this is a serious lapse. badri raina
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