Icicles, a poem by Badri Raina

Niagra Falls
Photo of frozen Niagara Falls by Aaron Harris/Reuters


by Badri Raina

When icicles hang by the beard,Know that this may well be the last wordIn a saga that, regardless of modernity,

Goes way back into some initial sea.

After all, the greater the heat we generate,

The colder Nature must reciprocate

To keep the world somewhat temperate.

O Picco de la Mirandola, how you

Held forth on the dignity of man

After dark centuries of admonition to remain

As still as we can.

Through some six or seven hundred years of doing

We have managed to overthrow

As many chains of being as kept us below

Our manifest destiny of ruling the universe

For better and better, never for the worse.

Tell us, then, why it is that we have made

Of things veritable gods, but reduced human beings

To mechanical, unfeeling, uncaring sods,

The more helpless the more puissant we seem,

Like a horribly distorted swagger of a dream.

Is it still open to the icicle in the beard

To freeze us into a self-rebuke that may redeem?


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