To Kali


To Kali

The principal of Destruction is essential to existence itself, in Hindu cosmology as in physics. As Vishnu gives birth to new matter and new conscious beings, so Brahma maintains them for their span and Siva (in the form of Kali) comes to harvest them when their time is over. Without rubble, without the reduction to basic elemental levels of all matter, creation and re-creation would be impossible. Destruction, as the Mother of all future births, is beautiful in her own right. She is the Dark Womb of that which has been utterly destroyed; the shadowy Yoni of unmaking, of undoing, the Black Hole all-devouring, but like her radiant sister the Womb of Light, she is the portal  through which all things must pass; ants or Empires. After aeons, Sangsara, the wheel of birth and rebirth casts us back to the Unity, to the One where re-incarnation is no longer necessary, nor even desired. Indeed, even Desire ceases to exist.

"...and after the battle has finished raging, we must destroy the rubble, for if we don't destroy the rubble, we've haven't accomplished anything!"

Alfred Jarry, circa 1898.

All Hail Mother Destruction !

À Kali


Déesse de la mort, reine des voluptés,

Ame des nuits d’amour, âme des nuits sanglantes,

Déesse au corps livide, aux regards redoutés,

Comme l’âcre poison des serpents ou des plantes ;


Et partout et toujours présente, dans l’horreur

Des combats ou le vol terrible tempêtes,

Et dans les océans fouettés par ta fureur,

On hurlante le soir par la gueule des bêtes ;


O Déesse hideuse, et si douce parfois,

Qui masquant ta laideur, pour mieux tromper mes âmes,

Mous attires, fleur tendre ou source dans les bois,

Et qui revêts souvent l’apparence des femmes ;


Déesse ténébreuse, ou splendide, et qui luis

Comme la lune d’or, reine des épouvantes,

O musique, ô parfum et délices des nuits,

Beau serpent enlaceur, aux caresses savantes ;


Déesse aux yeux glacés, tu dédaignes nos pleurs,

Et de ces morts bleuis par tes baisers farouches,

Méprisante, tu fais du fumier pur les fleurs,

Ou d’opulents festins pour les vers et les mouches !


Jean Lahor (Jean Cazalis), L’Illusion, 1893.


To Kali


Goddess of death, queen of pleasures, 

Of nights of love, or nights of blood, alike the soul,

Goddess of livid body, of appearance dreadful 

As the acrid poisons of plants or serpents; 


Thou everywhere and always present, in the horror 

Of combat or the flight of tempests terrifying, 

And in the oceans whipped by your fury, 

Howls evening as from an animal’s snout; 


Oh Goddess hideous, though sometimes sweet too, 

Who conceals your ugliness, the better to souls deceive, 

Smooth seductress, tender flower or forest spring, 

Often assuming the appearance of woman; 


Goddess of shadows or splendors, who shines 

As a moon of gold, queen of terrors, 

Oh music, oh perfume and delights of the night, 

Beautiful constricting snake with sage caresses; 


Frozen-eyed Goddess, our tears you do disdain, 

And these deaths turned blue by your brutal kisses, 

You despise, the flowers to manure you render, 

Or as opulent feasts for worms and flies!



Jean Lahor (Jean Cazalis), L’Illusion, 1893.

[Un-rhymed English Translation: Sardonique Schadenfreude Rictus / Dr. Bathybius, 2008].

Kali image: Mary MacGregor-Reid