A Dream of Gods

(With apologies to Lovecraft)

 

A cloudy dull day alone in my study,

Flames from the fire were singing me to sleep,

As oblivion’s hand started to hold me,

I suddenly saw the place where gods go to die.

 

Some forgotten sad recess of the human mind,

A cavern built from memories, pillars of hope,

The stone floor surfaced from primitive fear,

All around: lifeless husks of the stars in the sky.

 

First, spread around collapsed white columns,

Those Titans of Olympus, the glories of Rome,

Each had fallen from their cloudy thrones,

Killed by daggers of change and a sword of Republic.

 

Poseidon, trident rusted and bent,

Only the seaweed around him with any life,

Even the King of them all, great Zeus himself,

Had been struck by his father Chronos’ scythe.

 

By his side lay Athena also now gone,

As lovely in death as she was in life,

Time waits for nothing, especially for gods,

It had conquered them all in one mighty swing.

 

A smell of sand and perfumed scents,

Sweet coolness of a great roaring river,

Shadows cast from faraway dusty statues,

And the gods of Egypt rose up from the Nile.

 

Pale and white from years in the water,

The eyes of the gods were all open pearls,

Osiris, Seth, Isis and all,

Floating away out of man’s mind.

 

Where was their immortality now?

The powers which terrified men into slaves,

All gone, including the Sun-God Ra,

His body the lifeless shell of a scarab-beetle.

 

I continued through this graveyard of faith,

Light breezes carried the laments of the dead,

So many names, so many ideas,

Blown away like so many autumn leaves.

 

“Freya,” whispered the breeze, “Freya, Freya.”

“Ishtar” and “Zoroaster”, who are they now?

Only ruins and wrecks and footnotes in books,

That’s all that is left of them now.

 

Many-armed Shiva looked down at me,

Speared on the peak of a Himalayan rock,

Flames of ignorance burned in his hair,

Brahman beside sleeping forever.

 

And here were the gods of the frozen north,

Norse giants killed by their final Ragnarok,

Thor who could make all of Heaven shudder,

Here just food for the vultures of progress.

 

From a dead black tree hanged the god Odin,

His one-eye pecked out by the hungry ravens,

All I could see was decay and decay,

The gods of old had all gone away.

 

Past Quetzalcoatl on his altar of blood,

Past Buddha stretched out under his now fallen tree,

Past the untended remains of a million temples,

A cross was on fire on the peak of a hill.

 

For here, full of men’s skulls who thought this was truth,

Was the one who had killed so many of his elder brothers,

Who thought himself so great that he became so bright,

Overshadowing the other stars in the sky.

 

And yet even this one who claimed no peer,

Once so high and glorious, the only god,

Had fallen down like all the rest,

His cross becoming a pile of dust.

 

So I sat and watched the history of man,

These burning flames, this blowing ash,

Thinking of all the life which made this,

Thinking of all the death which made this.

 

Yet suddenly a noise, a scream from afar,

Earth shook and bodies arose,

Eyes layered in silt opened with force,

And the dead gods of old woke up once more.

 

They came to me, screaming with pain,

Pointing their skeletal fingers at my body,

They gathered around my horrified form,

In one voice they spoke, with angry red eyes.

 

“You and your kind did this to us,

Created us from your own shallow fears,

Born from your minds, raised by your faith,

You made us your kings but also your slaves.

 

“Worshipping, revering, showering with praise,

Pleading with us for fruitless gains,

At times it was love, at times it was hate,

We were your joy and we were your pain.

 

“But your kind is fickle, your lives are too short,

You tire of us and treat us like toys,

Once weary of our undemanding love,

You throw us aside and search for another.

 

“Man is the god, the only one truth,

Creating us gods and killing us too,

At the mercy of whims and farcical needs,

We suffer and die and speak nevermore.

 

“And you, wretched man, continue to blame,

Placing your disastrous errors on us,

Killing and slaughtering in our forgotten names,

Spouting your own worthiness and bile.

 

“Damn you mankind for making us all,

Just beasts to carry your foolish mistakes,

Sullying us to keep your petty lives clean,

Confining us to this cavern of death.”

 

They cried in their thousands, a terrible sound,

Man’s dreams deteriorated into this dark scene,

I ran away from this broken hope,

Running towards the comforting darkness.

 

Here was the greatest god of them all,

Not belonging to man to create or destroy,

Everywhere, just nothing to see,

Infinity’s void will always be here.

 

But the world despises being ignored,

And reality (so-called) pushed itself in,

The emptiness fled with man’s sad gods too,

Man’s vivid dream appeared once again.

 

Back in my study of unsettling warmth,

I thought of the gods in their eternal prison,

Confined to death due to the folly of man,

How they must long for that darkness.

 

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