BLACK CAT POEMS
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Man and Time
Within the house of pillared cloud, sublime,
Where dwell the Gods of Ind, who laugh at Time,
The Servant Nandi bent in wonted toil,
Anointing Siva's deathless limbs with oil,
When, echoing far, a sudden booming woke
The azure vault; and thus the Servant spoke:
"O Mahadeva, whence and wherefore comes
The boding sound like that of many drums?"
The God replied: "Upon the plain of Earth
A cannon roars to hail Rawana's birth."
He scarce had said, when, yet again the roar!
"What sound is that?" the Servant asked once more.
The God replied: "The cannon shouts again
For that men crown Rawana king of men."
Then muttered Nandi: "Yea! a slave on high,
A drudge on Earth--and what reward have I?
"While, see! Unproved, unknown, this clod-born Thing
That naught hath merited is crowned a king!"
Before his word had gone where folly goes
Yet once again the hollow boom arose.
"The cannon tolls," unquestioned, Siva said,
"To bid men mourn for great Rawana--dead."
So Nandi blushed for shame: "And I," he thought,
"Who serve the gods, have stooped to envy--Naught!
"For this is Naught, whose birth and life and death
Have scarce the space of one immortal breath."
"Time passes!" Men in fond delusion say.
"No!" Time demurs; "'tis men that pass away."
The High Gods laugh; for Man and Time that vie
Are waifs of Brahma's dream--and both shall die.
poems by Arthur Guiterman