The Gods Above Us (a poem)

 

by Badri Raina

They had great faith in the gods
Dotting the hills and dales—
Those men and women who
Are now corpses.
Yet, not one among those that
Survived was heard to say
“the gods govern our conditions;
Not the government, not the builders,
Not the hoteliers, not the miners—
None of these are responsible, since
God willed it so.”
All of their moaning suggested
How unstuck they were with the gods
They believed in.
Of all the tangled flesh and bone
That lay mangled among the rubble,
One corpse stood out:
Bang in the sanctum sanctorum,
This young man, dead and askew,
Had open eyes full of consternation
Fixed searingly upon the god-in-chief.
It was as though in his moment
Of dying, his amazement at the deity’s
Uncaring repose was too much to hide.
He might have been thinking, “how
Could you let this happen?”
The bold accusation in his eyes,
Resentfully alive in his death,
Waits for answer.

Published in Outlook.india.com

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