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Millenial Hymn to Lord Shiva

Written by: Kathleen Raine | Biography
 Earth no longer
hymns the Creator,
the seven days of wonder,
the Garden is over —
all the stories are told,
the seven seals broken
all that begins
must have its ending,
our striving, desiring,
our living and dying,
for Time, the bringer
of abundant days
is Time the destroyer —
In the Iron Age
the Kali Yuga
To whom can we pray
at the end of an era
but the Lord Shiva,
the Liberator, the purifier?

Our forests are felled,
our mountains eroded,
the wild places
where the beautiful animals
found food and sanctuary
we have desolated,
a third of our seas,
a third of our rivers
we have polluted
and the sea-creatures dying.
Our civilization’s blind progress in wrong courses through wrong choices has brought us to nightmare where what seems, is, to the dreamer, the collective mind of the twentieth century — this world of wonders not divine creation but a big bang of blind chance, purposeless accident, mother earth’s children, their living and loving, their delight in being not joy but chemistry, stimulus, reflex, valueless, meaningless, while to our machines we impute intelligence, in computers and robots we store information and call it knowledge, we seek guidance by dialling numbers, pressing buttons, throwing switches, in place of family our companions are shadows, cast on a screen, bodiless voices, fleshless faces, where was the Garden a Disney-land of virtual reality, in place of angels the human imagination is peopled with foot-ballers film-stars, media-men, experts, know-all television personalities, animated puppets with cartoon faces — To whom can we pray for release from illusion, from the world-cave, but Time the destroyer, the liberator, the purifier? The curse of Midas has changed at a touch, a golden handshake earthly paradise to lifeless matter, where once was seed-time, summer and winter, food-chain, factory farming, monocrops for supermarkets, pesticides, weed-killers birdless springs, endangered species, battery-hens, hormone injections, artificial insemination, implants, transplants, sterilization, surrogate births, contraception, cloning, genetic engineering, abortion, and our days shall be short in the land we have sown with the Dragon’s teeth where our armies arise fully armed on our killing-fields with land-mines and missiles, tanks and artillery, gas-masks and body-bags, our air-craft rain down fire and destruction, our space-craft broadcast lies and corruption, our elected parliaments parrot their rhetoric of peace and democracy while the truth we deny returns in our dreams of Armageddon, the death-wish, the arms-trade, hatred and slaughter profitable employment of our thriving cities, the arms-race to the end of the world of our postmodern, post-Christian, post-human nations, progress to the nihil of our spent civilization.
But cause and effect, just and inexorable law of the universe no fix of science, nor amenable god can save from ourselves the selves we have become — At the end of history to whom can we pray but to the destroyer, the liberator, the purifier? In the beginning the stars sang together the cosmic harmony, but Time, imperceptible taker-away of all that has been, all that will be, our heart-beat your drum, our dance of life your dance of death in the crematorium, our high-rise dreams, Valhalla, Utopia, Xanadu, Shangri-la, world revolution Time has taken, and soon will be gone Cambridge, Princeton and M.
I.
T.
, Nalanda, Athens and Alexandria all for the holocaust of civilization — To whom shall we pray when our vision has faded but the world-destroyer, the liberator, the purifier? But great is the realm of the world-creator, the world-sustainer from whom we come, in whom we move and have our being, about us, within us the wonders of wisdom, the trees and the fountains, the stars and the mountains, all the children of joy, the loved and the known, the unknowable mystery to whom we return through the world-destroyer, — Holy, holy at the end of the world the purging fire of the purifier, the liberator!



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