Thursday, June 5, 2008


The Temple Coffers

The sounds of a knocker
End the potbellied slumber
Of the upholders of the faith;
The recesses, dark and sullen,
Frown upon my daring.
I look for the temple coffers;
I have some money,
Stolen from a rich criminal,
For a worthy cause.
What could be worthier
Than the upkeep of religion,
The high priest asks; I repeat:
Where is the money box.
The fatuous men of God
Keep it in the alcoves; nest eggs
For an age when their youth
Abandons them while the idols
Fast, ostracizing nonbelievers,
Governesses of pampered brats.

As I reveal
Crisp hundred rupee notes,
The priests triumphantly
Lead me to the slumbering idols
And toll the hanging bells
With their left hands, their right
Grabbing the currency notes.
Truly, I am blessed!

As I leave, a soiled devotee enters,
His eyes mirroring idols, no cash
In his demeanor; the priests
Shout: Come at dawn with the sun;
The gods are resting, you know;
The ringing of bells disturbs them.
I watch: the pauper joins his palms
In the surrender of silence
And heads for the exit

As his wife lies dying in a slum.

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