Hide and Seek

In a land far away,
where no one aged,
and the Gods had not receded
permanently to the heavens,
a long game of hide and seek,
was afoot.
The Gods, tricksters all,
both mighty and small,
decided to conceal themselves,
in plain sight.
The men, answering their call,
ambitions tall,
counted to a hundred.
Must find each one,
they said, for without them,
they knew their youth would fade
their bodies supine,
on wood-stacks laid.

The Gods were Gods
for a reason.
They hid in places deep,
in common houses and parks,
roads, trenches,
and the highway keep.
At first, they were easily found,
some behind trees, under trunks,
near the lakeshore,
under an obvious mound.
But the game wasn’t easy
to play,
as some were caught,
but the smarter Gods
hid under the homes,
of the seeking lot.

Axe, shovel, hammer,
and stick,
they pummelled houses,
and in the air thick,
they discerned the shapes,
of one God after another,
gladly homeless,
to the rubble – they screamed,
the game is ours,
in the horizon,
their prize gleamed.
In a last, desperate attempt,
the remaining gods, convened –
“We must confuse,” they decided,
“We take each other’s form,
hide within each other’s homes,
this is surely a trick
as yet unknown.”

The homeless men,
their youth beside,
with nothing to lose,
set their temples aside,
one by one as
the sanctuaries fell,
the Gods naked,
as homeless as the men,
at death’s knell.
But tasting victory was not enough,
deeply suspicious of the Gods,
was our win so easily brought?
“The game is on,” they said,
sullen faces, a glum nod.

With everything in ruins,
they turned to each other,
for Gods were hiding in bodies,
of mother, sister, their own brother.
Teeth and nails they used, this time,
to rip their chests and hair,
searching for the one God,
and his unfound lair.
In a land far away, where no one aged,
the Gods were found, and defeated,
but men chase on,
digging bodies, liquifying bones,
turning skin to leather,
men are gods, the gods are gone.

Anirudh Raghavan is trained in sociology and is an occasional poet.

Featured image: Deepak Rautela / Unsplash