the people
sprang from the earth
along with the trees
     and flowers
filled with the sweetness
        of a sunrise
a simple sensuality
      a fragrant nectar
at the core of their being
in the early hours of youth
bitter tears etch gullies
    in the smooth voluptuousness
of copper skin framed
       in raven curls
like the arid crevices
   in the ancient land
the corruption of the dust
    cloaks the brightness of their clothing
as the water which was given to nurture all life
    spreads invisible messengers of death
        through the bodies of their children
but now
after merciless eternity
    a cry for change
       like the trumpet of gabriel
pierces the heart
and shakes the foundation
    of desolate mountains
the sword of shiva
     can no longer be restrained
for chaos is the mother of change
but every drop of blood
     which shall be shed
the cry of every child
        who goes hungry
every word
       spoken in harshness
           between man and wife
    out of despair
every journey interrupted
shall be visited upon the souls of the fortunate
who believe that those with nothing
       should be content
and who fail to yield with grace
           as the goddess exhales



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©2001 Phil Cohen

illustrated by Patricia Ford