Monday, February 7, 2011


It was touted
As a miracle,
Drawing pilgrims like
Insects to a flame,
Claimed to be visible only to those
Who had been the most devout
Strictly observing the rites
And keeping the vows,
Those who did not see it
For reasons of refractive error
Always pretended they had seen
The manifestation on the hill ---
The stampede shattered the myth,
Led to official admissions
That the light was man-lit,
Drew erudite distinctions
Between the star and the flame,
Many blamed the pilgrims
For panicking and pouring
Down a narrow jungle path,
Some wrote I-told-you-so articles
How the tragedy
Was waiting to happen
The fundamentalists gave the perspective
That for the believer
It was a direct ascent to heaven
A spark disappearing into the celestial fire
Dying during a pilgrimage
Like this was mass nirvana
A harvest of the chosen.

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