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RAINE, Kathleen

The Pythoness

I am that serpent-haunted cave

Whose navel breeds the fates of men.

All wisdom issues from a hole in the earth;

The gods form in my darkness, and dissolve again.

From my blind womb all kingdoms come,

And from my grave seven sleepers prophesy.

No babe unborn but wakens to my dream,

No lover but at last entombed in me shall lie.

I am that feared and longed-for burning place

Where man and phoenix are consumed away,

And from my low polluted bed arise

New sons, new suns, new skies.

Paradise Seed

Where is the seed

Of the tree felled,

Of the forest burned,

Or living root

Under ash and cinders?

From woven bud

What last leaf strives

Into life, last

Shrivelled flower?

Is fruit of our harvest,

Our long labour

Dust to the core?

To what far, fair land

Borne on the wind

What winged seed

Or spark of fire

From holocaust

To kindle a star?


If you go deep

Into the heart

What do you find there?

Fear, fear,

Fear of the jaws of the rock,

Fear of the teeth and splinters of iron that tear

Flesh from the bone, and the moist

Blood, running unfelt

From the wound, and the hand

Suddenly moist and red.

If you go deep

Into the heart

What do you find?

Grief, grief,

Grief for the life unlived,

For the loves unloved,

For the child never to be born,

Th'unbidden anguish, when the fair moon

Rises over still summer seas, and the pain

Of sunlight scattered in vain on spring grass.

If you go deeper

Into the heart

What do you find there?

Death, death,

Death that lets all go by,

Lets the blood flow from the wound,

Lets the night pass,

Endures the day with indifference, knowing that all must end.

Sorrow is not forever, ad sense

Endures no extremities,

Death is the last Secret implicit within you, the hidden, the deepest

Knowledge of all you will ever unfold

In this body of earth.

Millenial Hymn to Lord Shiva

Earth no longer

hymns the Creator,

the seven days of wonder,

the Garden is over —

all the stories are told,

the seven seals broken

all that begins

must have its ending,

our striving, desiring,

our living and dying,

for Time, the bringer

of abundant days

is Time the destroyer —

Our forests are felled,

our mountains eroded,

the wild places

where the beautiful animals

found food and sanctuary

we have desolated,

a third of our seas,

a third of our rivers

we have polluted

and the sea-creatures dying.