Shiva’s silence

a poem by Rita Malhotra Dr

Shiva’s silence?
Noon image
Futility of a clinging sun
On the breast of a shamed, helpless sky
The exquisite architecture
Of the Kedarnath Shrine
Tracing centuries of mythology
Warms to yellow
Yet we hear no echo that recalls rhythms of life

Shiva, the bestower of longevity
Trapped the descending Ganges in his hair
Absorbing her fall
Yet today, he thrust the Mandakini down from the
High trapeze of ruthless glaciers
Washing villages off the map
Dragging scarlet remains
Of annihilated beings
That belong to the river now.

Shiva played the conventional destroyer
Oblivious to the difference between
Beautiful and ugly
Between man and ghost
Between life and death
He watched the tandav of nature
As the debris at the temple threshold
Gathered heaps of bones, bodies and
Vestiges of life
Are these merely cultural delusions
For Shiva the supreme hermit?

A vertiginous night descends
Sad lights on the mountain scape
Rise out of blackened waters
The cadence of darkness is mine alone today
I sit to write the countless forgotten names
In my remembrance diary
Uncertain thoughts ask of the
Lone survivor – the shiv-linga*
Why is life so short
Why is death so long?