‘Surf the Apocalypse’ and other poems
By: William T. Hathaway
Surf the Apocalypse
We stand on doomsday’s beach
watching waves rise and crash,
breathing the brisk and final breeze.
Shiva holds in one of his four arms
a surfboard carved from a bodhi tree,
His partner Durga and their son Ganesh
stand beside him, boardless.
I clutch a battered styrofoam body board,
Over the waves gallops a white mare –
mane and tail streaming.
Kalki, the last avatar, rides her –
white beard streaming,
blowing his conch and shouting,
Shiva paddles with four hands through the surging surf.
Shivering, I flop onto my board and try to keep up with him.
Durga and Ganesh mount the air and drop onto the waves.
She rides them barefoot on a cushion of kundalini;
he skims them on ivory skates.
The sea swells and circles us,
whirling in rings that seem to rise,
but it’s we who are sinking into them.
The ocean becomes a funnel of fire
that doesn’t burn but caresses in farewell
and turns my fear to joy.
All the waters and lands are sweeping together,
all the creatures are riding and whooping,
swarming over the waves in the final celebration,
end of time, space and matter,
end of the universe,
into the great womb of Parashakti,
taking it all back home to Brahman.
As we shoot the curl down the chute,
Durga blows Shiva a kiss,
and he waves and shouts, “Good show!”
We laugh, we laugh, we laugh
all the way to silence and dissolution
until the next emerging
into another blissful miserable divine profane glorious monstrous all-sacred cycle. Aum.
Jamming in Prime Time
Rudra and the Maruts, the multi-media band,
are bored with winter and want to play.
They tune up behind the sky,
shadow the sun and hush the birds,
blow a fortissimo fanfare to open the show,
rumble and flash the air,
spit and splat staccatos of rain,
push big blue cloud cushions down to earth,
soak us with lush spews,
caress us with windblown scents of pine and humus,
then end with a crescendo of hail.
All we helpless humans can say is,
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William T. Hathaway’s books won him a Rinehart Foundation Award and a Fulbright professorship in creative writing. His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American warrior falling in love with a Sufi Muslim and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence.