Awake to a room
by the beach at Goa,
a high white cave
of slumbering heat,
the lazy fan
painting the walls
of wave sound.
Outside the endless sands
preserve the naked footprints
of a thousand gods
sandwiched deep between
the layers of crashing waves.
And ghosts of fevered Jesuits
gaunt as Greco Christs
haunt the tombs
of mouldering laterite Notre Dames
to whisper in the souls of travellers
vying still for puny man's eternity.
Miracles still keep
the flesh and bone of Xavier
as young as yesterday
before the wondering eyes
of faithful devotees.
Once, long years ago
a woman overcome with ecstasy,
perhaps the one true convert,
bit a toe from off that sacred foot.
Upon the wall above, bejeweled Ganesa
huge amidst his happy fragile acolytes
a garish ponderous rolling bulk
of comfort, peace and succour
celebrating as he smiles enormously
the rotund joviality of our too brief lives.
If he were mine
I would not give him up
to drink the blood
and eat the flesh
of promises uncertain
and days of pain and thorns and suffering.
High upon the dusty Deccan plateau
I sit amongst the dancing ancient stones
while prancing priapetic princes
copulate with energetic friends
and happy jewelled concubines
in mock disapprobation
avert their eyes and preen themselves
for pleasures ever to be locked in stone.
Did Kajuraho's princes fight and kill and die
as ever princes have been wont to do?
Were pleasures taken as reward for valour
or with captive fair or bestial?
If so they did not think it true enough
to be immortalized in stone
for here no one can die, except perhaps from ecstasy,
and days in endless leisure spent
pile one atop the next to reach
the sacred mountain peak.
This culture of unbridled joy
eight centuries before I came
could celebrate with such abandon
as to make the silent rocks alive
and tell this tale so unalike
the grubby world of now
where loveless gods look down
and sneer at our sad procreation.