The bonfire is his temple, and the abode of ghosts and evil spirits his home

The bewitched vermillion sun scorches
The skulls of sacrificial virgins
Which hang on chiselled spears
Attached to wooden stakes
Still warm from the satanic pyre
As sadhus bathe in their ashes

Beside a pile of human heads
With flowing ebony hair
Matted with blood
A warm, crimson blade glistens
Fresh from the slaughter

Bowls and jewellery are carved
From human bones
Skin and entrails boiled
In a filthy, blood stained cauldron
Destined for magik potions

Turmeric is smeared on
Fevered mahogany brows
Whilst holy men high
On alcohol and marijuana
Meditate to reach enlightenment
Around the macabre bonfire

They sit naked atop cadavers
Wild, dreadlocked hair
Hangs down their lean backs
Like a mass of knotted cobras
The putrid stench of death
Laced with the sweet aroma
Of Jasmine and marigold
Cloys the fearful breeze

When the tuberose dusk falls
Tortured souls from the spirit world
With frozen, contorted faces
Hover on the perimeter of the abyss

A family of monkeys
Playing amongst
Crumbling tombstones
Are darted with poison arrows
Before being skinned alive

Human and animal flesh is devoured
By the skeletal sadhus
Washed down with human effluent
Their feast shared
With a pack of starving pye dogs

The skins are tied to the branches
Of the graveyard’s mystic banyan tree
Whose roots are said to be the entrance to Hades
Guarded by a monstrous immortal naga

A vat of warm virgin blood mixed with milk is
Placed at a hole by the trunk
For the vaporous blood thirsty creature
Who will slither up from the earth’s bowels
In the smoke filled darkness
To consume his nightly offering

Virgin skulls used as candle holders
Are lit and placed in a circle
Around the sacred tree
The saffron moon shivers

The mystic tribe summon the dead
Prostrated before grotesque deities
Smeared with virginal blood
Garlanded with lilies
Chanting surreal demonic poetry

The serpent rears her head
Tongue flickering manically
As hellish flames leap high
Into the midnight sky

As dawn breaks
Vultures dine
On grisly remains

Bloated corpses float
On the toxic river
Choked with industrial
And human waste
While temple worshippers
Light incense and pray
For the sweet, pure rains
When polluted souls will be cleansed
And crimson stains washed away.

Copyright © 2016 Anne D Morgan

This poem is inspired by the Aghori monks.  They are a Hindu sect known predominantly for their taboo practices such as the ritual cannibalism of the dead