There is an idol in my house By whom the sandal alway steams. Alone, I make a black carouse With her to dominate my dreams. With skulls and knives she keeps control (O Mother Kali!) of my soul. She is crowned with emeralds like leaves, And rubies flame from either eye; A rose upon her bosom heaves, Turquoise and lapis lazuli. She hath a kirtle like a maid: -- Amethyst, amber, pearl, and jade! Her face is fashioned like a moon; Her breasts are tongues of pointed jet; Her belly of opal fairly hewn; And round about her neck is set The holy rosary, skull by skull, Polished and grim and beautiful! This jewelled shape of gold and bronze Is seated on my bosom's throne; She takes my mused orisons To her, to her, to her alone. Oh Kali, Kali, Kali, quell This hooded hate, O Queen of Hell! Her ruby-studded brow is calm; Her eyes shine like some sleepy flood; Her breast is oliban and balm; Her tongue lolls out, a-dripping blood; She swings my body to and fro; She breaks me on the wheel of woe! To her eternal rapture seems Mere nature; underneath the crown Of dusky emeralds there streams A river of bliss to sluice me down With blood and tears, to drown my thought, To bring my being into naught. The cruel teeth, the steady sneer, The marvellous lust of her, I bring Unto my body bright and clear (Dropped poison in a water spring!) To fill me with the utmost sense Of some divine experience. For who but she, the adulterous queen, Made earth and heaven with all its stars, The storm, the hunger epicene, The raging at invisible bars, The hideous cruelty of the whole? -- These are of Kali, o my soul! The sterile force of bronze and gold Bends to my passion, as it grips With feverish claws the metal cold, And burns upon the brazen lips That, parted like a poppy bud, Have gemmed curves like moons of blood. The mazes of her many arms Delude the eye; they seem to shift As if they spelled mysterious charms Whereby some tall grey ship should drift Out to a windless, tideless sea Motionless from eternity. This then I seek, O woman-form! O god embowelled in curves of bronze! The shuddering of a sudden storm To mix me with thy minions The lost, who wait through endless night, And wait in vain, to see the light. For I am utterly consumed In thee, in thee am broken up. The life upon my lips that bloomed Is crushed into a deadly cup, Whose devilish spirit squats and gloats Upon the thirst that rots our throats. Gape wide, O hideous mouth, and suck This heart's blood, drain it down, expunge This sweltering life of mire and muck! Squeeze out my passions as a sponge, Till naught is left of terrene wine But somewhat deathless and divine! Not by a faint and fairy tale We shadow forth the immortal way. No symbols exquisitely pale Avail to lure the secrets grey Of his endeavour who proceeds By doing to abolish deeds. Not by the pipings of a bird In skies of blue on fields of gold, But by a fierce and loathly word The abomination must be told. The holy work must twist its spell >From hemp of madness, grown in hell. Only by energy and strife May man attain the eternal rest, Dissolve the desperate lust of life By infinite agony and zest. Thus, O my Kali, I divine The golden secret of thy shrine! Death from the universal force Means to the forceless universe Birth. I accept the furious course, Invoke the all-embracing curse. Blessing and peace beyond may lie When I annihilate the 'I'. Therefore, o holy mother, gnash Thy teeth upon my willing flesh! Thy chain of skulls wild music clash! Thy bosom bruise mine own afresh! Sri Maharani! draw my breath Into the hollow lungs of death! There is no light, nor any motion. There is no mass, nor any sound. Still, in the lampless heart of ocean, Fasten me down and hold me drowned Within thy womb, within thy thought, Where there is naught -- where there is naught!