Our Shiva

Let me claim you as the Veda did aeons ago,
Let me remind you of your previous life:
You are pasan, my old uncle.
Our Enkidu whose shack was behind mother’s house,
Where you ate dried fish heads with local toddy at night;
With your jokes came a hint of malice;
We were always nervous laughing, wary of your curses,
Like your namesake, you danced one moment
Then spewed venom the next.
During the day, you Shiva, would prod about in the garden,
Harvesting taro and sweet potatoes.
You were always accompanied by our un-ceremonial dogs.
You bathed once a year around Christmas time
Upon mother’s insistence;
No one called you deity but I know
You were something like the old gods;
Winter plants were nurtured by the silt of your meandering locks,
The mushroom in its underground prison festered joyfully again,
The wild rat smirked in its winter sleep within its earth womb,
Blossoms grew patient, waiting for the shot of spring:
It was all your doing, I know.

Dieu Francais

Shella, a new God has come to town
Sitting proud, on the other side of the bank;
A God which has lodged itself into the mountain side
Which has inserted its tentacles into the villagers’ hearts;
A God whose raiments are hard hats, heavy boots and uniforms:
A standard international God.
A new magic has enraptured the minds of the locals:
CSR development magic, which offers a place at the table
For the old elite custodians and tribal priests;
Unlike the old gods who mostly preferred being alone.
This new God’s temple is a conveyor belt that stretches into Bangladesh;
Like all gods it needs offerings before blessing us:
Its mouth is a furnace, its entrails digest Indian ore
Turn it into indulgences, for glocal acolytes.
Shella, can you imagine a future without this God?
Has it come to deliver you or disappear like the others?
Will its name last a thousand years?
Will you be saved, Shella?