A Poem from The Age of the Mother
"New Age" is the penultimate poem of my book, The Age of the Mother (Laughing Coyote, 1992). I have changed one word only. Instead of "laplanders," I have "Sami" because that is the name the people of the Arctic north in Scandinavia and Russia call themselves. The made-up figure of Jesse Rama-Kali is based on the Hindu goddess, Kali. Here is a picture of a nineteenth-century lithograph of Kali (with polished tin accents), Kalighat style from India, West Bengal, Calcutta. My poem is meant to be an apocalyptic announcement of the coming of the New Age, The Age of the Mother. You can read more about my book by clicking on the title above.
In Scandinavia midges & mosquitoes
emerge from cold summer lakes.
Tiny hairs become erect,--
the insects squirm in chilly air,
they swarm with a fearful noise,
a voiceover, the swirling masses
a Seurat painting overlaid, electrified,
menacing the bleak wooden houses.
Icy mountains--glaciers trail
like blue snakes, mountain water
a cobalt indigo.
the black Mother Jesse Rama-Kali
rises from a frigid lake,
skin like lacquered oil.
Her lolling red tongue
laps the insects. She inseminates
the white mountain birds, the ravens,
the eagles, who tear apart the lemmings
and peck their beaks into frozen
reindeer flesh (feast from an avalanche).
The Sami stare, they kill with
reverence, Northern Lights dazzle--
the circle thus extends far below.
The reindeer stags lock antlers,
they rub piss into their hind legs,
they sniff the butts of the does;
they mount them on the run:
penises red like stiff tongues.
Mother approves. She places her feet
on the prone body of Shiva,
She bends her knees, presses her yoni
around the erect phallus of the god.
She holds a severed head in her left hand,
masculine destructive ego annihilated.
She holds the sword with which she cuts
the twine that binds us to Maya--the ego,
the patriarchal chain of the twentieth century.
With one audacious stroke she severs
the top of Shiva's head; with another
she severs her own, the blood pouring,--
the end of one era, the warm beginning of
a New Age--Age of Kali, The Great Mother.
Her breasts are full. Birds circle above.
Musk oxen, ice on their dark gray foreheads,
stop searching for grass under snow.
They gaze with dumb, admiring eyes.
I see them. I connect. I understand.
Copyright © Clifton Snider, 1992 and 2001, from The Age of