Goddess Durga

And last, but not least, our final (optional) prompt! In some past years, I’ve challenged you to write a poem of farewell for our thirtieth day, but this year, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that returns.

At the end of monsoon
on the cusp of autumn
when the last homage is being paid to the ancestors
from the lofty Himalayas she descends
to make earth her abode for nine nights
hail all! The beauteous one
as she comes once again
to bless our lives with her presence
the idols are decorated and the stage set
the invocations and the incantations begin
as everyone gets ready to welcome the righteous one
who slayed the demon to save her devotees
they now throng the pandals to sing her glories
her sojourn on earth is marked with festivities
choicest of foods, dance and drama
she partakes in it all in her regal glory
and then on the tenth day it is time to say farewell
there are tears as well as smiles
when her clay idol is immersed on the tenth day
she departs with the promise of her visit again.

(Durga puja is believed to commemorate Durga’s visit to her natal home with her children. The festival is preceded by Mahalaya, which is believed to mark the start of Durga’s journey to her natal home. Primary celebrations begin on the sixth day, on which the goddess is welcomed with rituals. The festival ends on the tenth day (Vijaya dashami), when devotees embark on a procession carrying the worshipped clay sculpture-idols to a river, or other water body, and immerse them, symbolic of her return to the divine cosmos and her marital home with Shiva in Kailash. She returns next year again.)