When Calamity Calls

When they announced a great war


That seemed to be the end

Pack your bags—

Start the draft—

Pray a last time…


Eons, millenia, 

Hours, seconds;

Your men were gone

Your morale shattered.

And now, now! 


When they announced bombings


You turned to him, serious

The selfless, the brave, the pious

Man of the Himalayas. 

He was willing to drink the poison

Just as he was willing to fight for his country


And so he went,

Cupping the potent brew in a conch shell—

Dodging bullets and mines.

Gulping down the End of Worlds—

Alone on the front line.

Constricting his throat to the toxic Halahala—

Watching his comrades fall.

The Destroyer. The Saviour, Shiva.


When they announced peace


Your world saved. 

But the sequela was his own.

The now blue-necked damaged soldier retreated

Back to the home front.

Neelakanth Shiva rests 

With the poison he devoured for you

until he is called again 

To duty, to country, to life.


This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741