Electric Verses

Etusivu : Welcome to Electric Verses! : Martin Enckell

Martin Enckell

Martin Enckell

Martin Enckell (b. 1954) is poet, translator and visual artist. He has written several volumes of poetry and prose. He has been strongly influenced by various religions and philosophies, especially those in the Far East. He was awarded Nuoren Taiteen Suomi (Young Art in Finland) Prize in 1995.



Kali, you
who cure us of demons
and blond evil
Kali, you
who mercifully accompany death
in order to reap
your maidenhood, over and over again,

Kali, you
who keep company with war
in order to wake up
on smoking battlefields, astride your beloved,
in the belief that you killed, danced Shiva, your master, to death
in the belief that you killed him, he who smilingly dreams it all,
in the belief that you killed Shiva, Maheswara, Mritunjaya, Mahakāla

and thousands upon thousands suffer in the dream, suffer in the dream,
and he stops you, he stops you because he loves you,
like Parvati, your star-sister, daughter of Himalaya, the golden,
but also as you are, the dark one, the possessed and dazzling,
Ganga’s sister, goddess of the floods,
with epidemics in your lap,

and like the one who begins to glow in the eyes of the dying
mother, you, inaccessible, but with your fingernails
in me, in the night,

whose sunrises,
and steaming dawns, mornings
and forenoons, and the white
heat, trembling, burn
my eyes to parched tunnels,
where the sixth millennium
of your night and the inexorable
sings itself past its beginning,
and I know that your nights
last four hundred and thirty-two thousand years,
and I know that it all gets worse,
and I know that you are compelled,
and I know that I will eventually refuse,
and even more for those whom I love,
but the smoke drifts, and the ash,
from the insects, the pyre
near Kalighat,
and the fires are, and the night

and the answers drift, like smoke and ash, in, into my room,
and in, into the letters home,
and I wait, I wait
to offer my refusal

while your fingernails
write in me

mother, you
who put Kaliyuga
in a coma,
mother, you
who are intoxication and wisdom, rhythm
and yoni, the blood-steaming
simmering around atmalingam

and I am here for your love,
and I am here for that which is terrible,
and I offer you ganja and glowing hibiscus,
and I offer you the most costly of all alphabets

mother, you
who rightfully punish
those who acclaim you – because they worship you

as the infinite mother you are,
and you do not want acclaim, you want nothing,
you are the rutting heat of the cremation groves and it is life that wants
you to dance Kaliyuga out of time,

for infinity’s breathing and also for me
who am compelled to draw near to you, Kali, Mahakali,
and you are the Mother, the Mother in Atman and beyond Atman, you are
the survivor, the latterday, the only and the eternal,
and like a sister
to Mary or I do not know who or what, but perhaps
you resemble Imanna and also Astarte of Aram-naharim,
and punish me – I love you

covering the skies,
and with hair like wild darkness
storming around the indigo fire you also are,
you dance in your loincloth of severed arms,
and with your hips rolling, and your breasts
heaving, quivering and heavy with wonders,
and with annihilation waiting
in the jewel in the pupil in your third eye, the eye
in the pudenda above the crescent moon between your eyebrows
and you dance and you dance, you dance
before the illusions that constantly ascend your children,
and you dance beside the precipice
in yourself,
and the universe in a quake,
and you dance
and you love, with that long, bloody tongue
hanging down between your breasts, that are so heavy with wonders
that your are forced to ensnare
the light, all light, the universe’s every source
of light, in your hair, in the gale
around the peace in your third eye, the eye that is you,
and you rotate lap and darkness
as you go to meet Shiva, and he awaits you, he awaits you
with the song from thousands of blue-sparkling bees
swarming, swarming around his bursting sex, the sex
that steams with the monsoons, and is fragrant, fragrant
with holy oil and jasmine,
and which he has made red-hot, red-hot for you,
and the kokila sings in your darkness,
and the kokila sings in the jungles between your thighs,
and the desire strikes like hungry tigresses, strikes
into your crevices that well forth fragrances of the promise
of oblivion and returns,
and you dance your way closer, and you dance
until you straddle, straddle the heat, and you ride your beloved
through wave upon wave, until you ride on the wave
that rises, rise like serpentine fire, swelling
through emptiness upon emptiness, until the uttermost nothingness
where you meet yourself, and your lap
explodes in the jewel in the pupil in your third eye

and the seven suns, the seven suns, reveal themselves
beyond time’s third horizon, and burn, burn everything
to silvering ash, when Vishnu, on his white stallion, rides in
ending and turning Kaliyuga into the rebirths

and you are infinitely beautiful, you are infinitely beautiful,
and your ear pendants are the gilded corpses of children,
and your ear pendants are cries of birth
and your necklaces are plaited cobras
bedecked with the crania of your sons, the alphabet
that created the world and prematurely spared its death,
and you swing the bloody broad-axe
and the demon’s severed head, in triumph,
and bless and show: be not afraid,
he shall gain his life who loses it for me

incomprehensible, cruel and beautiful,
raging and violent, gentle and abundant mercy,
mother, bluish black
and naked, eternally
virgin, constantly loving,
dancing and loving, straddling death, riding
your beloved – loving
and dancing devastation for the sake of the births,
grave and bosom, unfathomable, dancing amok and yet gentle
om – kang – kalika –namah
for devastation for the sake of the births

and I know that I am near
when at last,
when at last I am able
to call Christ mother

From Kali, 1997. Translated by David McDuff.

  • KALI
  • Saint Petersburg