17 February 2012

Some commemorative verses in memory of festive times

Of –rash and the chicks I sing,
That fugitive from Rajputana,
Enemy to tofu and soya, she
Who journeyed from far and over
The many ribbed backs of
Fast moving engines of massed steel
And found home in the land of victory.
She, a victim to the great wrath
Of the enthroned gods, who
From her land and ancient hearth
To undying lands of the free did
Journey, to found amongst the free
A temple sacred of Love and Joy,
An abode of great happiness, mocking
Those above in their splendour and glory.

Was it this, Muse, that roused the jealous
Pride of the gods? Did her feasts pale
The ambrosial gatherings of those
Arbitrators of our fate? Twas great Hera,
Mother, divine keeper of bridal vows,
Who first voiced the general dissatisfaction.
“Look, husband”, said she to the mighty
Thunderer, “how the mortals sport,
See how they live and love and feast!
They carry on without a thought to us
And what is rightfully ours, for we
Being eternal, eternal joy too must be
Ours, not the keep of these
Uncertain playthings of Time!”

It was you, brazen Mars, who spoke next,
Complaining of too great a peace,
Lusting for blood, battle in your eyes,
You spoke next. “Love or not,
Feasts or not, the gods must
Have their sport! Mortals may
Sport, aye, but so must we,
And, making them our sports,
Play with their dust! Hades has too long
Been empty, sinners live too much,
To war, then, to war!”

The Cytherean then suddenly rose,
Tall and stately was she, her hair
Long and kept up with a golden brooch,
A gift by her skilful husband, the
Lame One, she rose, her bosom
Heaving with dismay at her brother’s
Sharp words and so addressed the
Gathered gods: “Must we be
Vindictive, as of old? Must we
Grudge the unfortunate their fickle
Joys? These that we speak of
Are favoured by me, my particular
Friends, their house my special favourite.
Many are the times that I have
Joined in their sports, infused their love
With greater vigour. Let us not
Grieve over mortal joy, when eternity is
Ours, and so eternal delight!”

Faithless Strife, great enemy of gods
And women alike, saw a chance
To avenge an earlier slight, and
Aiming to divide the council,
Spoke thus: “You speak well,
O well-chosen consort of the Deity
Of our universe. Mortals must mortal be
And when they do presume upon
Us and ours, must hard lessons be taught.
Hear her, Conqueror, and grant us this wish,
That the free be enslaved, and slavish
Passions and yet more deeper, darker
Turmoils ensnare them!”

Great Chaos followed this, the council
Broke up divided, gods stood opposed
And all spoke in a general melee
Till their Supreme Father,
Wielder of Lightening, silenced
Them thus. “Peace, gods, peace!
Let silence reign here, let there be
Peace amongst us! Hear me now,
And hear me well. I instruct my son,
Great Dionysus, to breathe the spirit
Of Maenads amongst these mortal.
Let them sport, let them dine, but
Let madness reign, let Hades spew
Agave’s shameful ghost, and
Strife inspire –rash to a deeper shame.
Daughter, fair mother of impish
Cupid, you must not protest,
This is my will and I will not be thwarted!”

As he spoke the skies darkened, thunder split
The clouds asunder and fear came into the
Hearts of the assembled gods All nodded assent
And Dionysus, chosen for this task, was
First to leave the brazen portals of
Hoary Olympus. He was followed
Closely by Strife, greedy of mischief.
They appeared amongst their midst,
Unknown to all, and did as were bid.
Soon, where gentle love and feasting
Reigned, came in Dissatisfaction.
The stars hid in shame and Moon,
Aphrodite’s close ally, drew a
Curtain of clouds across her
Teary vision. But Strife, when aroused,
Knows no check and soon noble
-rash was an image of that mad
Theban mother. Whirling and chanting,
Her dark hair tearing the night,
Her eyes ablaze with a fury of delight,
She tore into her own precious chicks,
Broke them part by part, her hands
Bloodied and ate of the gore.

Thrice did her sea-born mistress
Send her warning, thrice did the
Winds, Aeolus’ special charge,
Attempt the accursed handful
From her bloody hands, but
The Fates’ will would be done.
She brushed aside all warning,
Driven to deeper shame in her madness
Till, sated, she dropped in her frenzy.

Who shall say what happened then,
Muse? How will I describe –rash’s shame
When rosy Aurora touched her cheeks
Into consciousness? How sing of her
Pain, the great pain, the turmoil
Which held her gripped in a vice?
Aid me, divine power, and you Apollo,
Unparalleled patron of song, give me
Skill to accomplish this unprecedented
Task, so greater glory be yours!

She woke, op’ed her eyes, and thought
The world before her. O, mighty mistake,
Grievous error! She lay in bed,
Thinking of her strange revels,
Pleased still of her feast, Memory
Deigning her happy thoughts
Before the pangs of reality would strike.
So she lay, remembering, and when
The Sun’s great chariot was halfway through
Its daily course, determined to arouse
Her company. But lo! Here she stands,
And, standing, is doubled in pain!
She sit, stands, sits, a very
Symplegades of trouble torments her
Soul, great waves of distress crashing
Over her earthly frame, her noble body
Sweaty, reeling in sickness and despairing
Of relief, to the skies so she prays.

“O, is it for this that you mighty gods
Shape us mortals, to so see us bent in
Shame? Do we forget you or your
Share of honour, dignity, respect
That you mock us thus, send us such
Plagues to torment the innermost
Secret recesses of our fragile frames?
How, O how have I erred, how
Offended you deities, for these
Tribulations, these tumults are your
Sending, I know it, they are your doing
For some fault, some mistake in me.
On this knee do I supplicate you,
O mighty ruler of destiny, ease
My pain, alleviate my suffering,
Give me release!”

Hearing this, the Thunderer was appeased,
He heard half her plea, and the rest willing air,
Decreed “Let her be free.
Let air and matter combine,
Let conches blow, let matter flow,
And as a fast flowing mountain stream
On the slopes of sacred Ida
Sweeps away accumulated mud from the banks,
Let her too regain purity, peace,
A hollow emptiness – let her be free!”

Lo! Divine signal, behold! No sooner
Than the Omnipotent’s words escaped
His lips, no sooner than the Sisters spun
To his command that on earth a mighty
Revolution occurred. Thrice the ground
Shook, thrice did the sea its bounds forsake,
Thrice thunder rule in sky and then,
As all came to a close, up rushed –rash
To her sacred closet, downed her robes
Of black and blue, and upon the hole to
Hades deep did discharge her unpleasant keep.