The Falling Temple

An old age weights upon me immediately 

when I come to the falling temple on the long bay,

The only standing house on the west side, though rickety ,

opens his drowsy eyes and stares at me ,

mumbles something inconspicuous that reminds me of a bad dream.

On the small path, full of dirts many decades old, the footprints

of many spirits of the new age cut deep and clear.

Man shudders for the footfall still echoes at night.

The Bodhisattva they once put high and grand lies now

face-up to the burnt roof- it was crimson I remember,

crimson as the inner side of a casket.

In the yard weeds play riotously.

 

The silent desolation invades the place and builds up

within itself another shrine for another generation of doubters, who,

like the guarding river behind a pile of bricks,

turn quiet as I am quiet too, under a scared moon.

 

It’s not the first time I come here, nor would it be the last,

The circle of history is destructive, alluring,

pushing us towards the beginning where everything has its end.

In the beginning, I believe, it was the best temple of the nation.

And now ?

The tragedy of a nameless fate falls heavy here, on the fallen god.

Gulmohar

凤凰木

so it is the place of the enlightenment ,

where swarthy peddlers sell ice creams

to the unworthy tourists like me.

So here it is , this open valley where the one

lived and left behind , 2500 years ago ,

I thought I could feel his breath in each breeze,

but no , it’s just another empty field ,

another tourist attraction, and the devoted swarm in

with incense and spice to seek him in idols ,

(Oh idols wonderfully clad in silver and gold )

and the garden consecrated )

still I do not know what paths what roads what gateways

lead to him ,No, I do not know,

I’m one of many conditioned in a mock show,

unmoved to the voice from Sarnath – it has dimmed

and lost to the bright rim of the worldly sun,

like right now, it’s all been unbearably quiet and hot,

suddenly, a pillar of fire,  or an illusion

bursts up to an azure sky , soon spreads , arches,

and drips down to a patch of lazy shades .

Gulmohar , the fire tree, the nest of Phoenix,

greets me at the entrance of the holy place .

but I’m wearied , and yearning for shelter ,

I walk into the grand mystery of the tree

who, many a century ago , must have seen

him who came seek shelter under this canopy,

him who came seek alms and blessed

the approaching prince, offering a prophesy.

now I sit and meditate on the same spot ,

with no robes nor medicine in hand, forlorn ,

troubled by Dharmas of all kinds and trapped in forms,

Is my abiding worth the time ? Will I be forgiven ?

Will he approach with the gift of nirvana?

I know he once did , 2500 years go.

I reach out to the burgeoning fire above my head ,

far far away comes a hymn of a Bhiksuni .

Magdalene

Magdalene

I was there when the sun poured down on her hair,

and glowed like a halo,

the couch she perched on ,

like a dedolent sea, weighted down , tamed,

and rippled to a perfunctory pattern, where

her bare bosoms arose distinctly.

I remembered the moon on the western shore,

behind her stood a silent candle,  still burning,

still gasping,

and drowned in her exotic perfume.

 

she looked at me with a strange look,

perhaps still wearied to a nameless cause,

she tilted her head toward

a cluster of light on the floor, a worn-out smile,

followed by a weak tap upon her puffed eiderdown.

 

That was many years ago,

I remembered the song of a distant harp, the one

with the lost tune of resurrection

wafting toward us – she was perplexed.

while I , no less confounded

by the profound question and her careless answer,

continued on my solitary road.

The Last Trumpet

The brighter the sun, the darker the shadow;

or have I not the eyes to witness

the reanimation of thedead

in the tapestry of  fire and darkness  ?

there the angels arise

there waft softly the wind of bliss

until suddenly comes the trumpet

I was from Assyria;

I was from Egypt;

and I am from the oriental myth;

on the path to truth I came across thunders,

I came across hails that made me ponder

on the necessity of my toil.

also wonder

at the ambiguity of the named deity

and my own identity –

Now on the first day of the seventh month

I lay open my garments to free my soul,

oh, my soul, I cannot be silent ;

the city roars, but no one stands at the post anymore.

Patan Kumari

I walk up the rickety stair leading to her shrine

on the top floor of a black old temple,

overawed by the imminent glimpse of the Kumari,

the living goddess in Patan ,

my steps are cautious and every mural is terrifying .

and suddenly , there she is , in a small compartment

of this room smelling of cypress,

clad in red and glittering gold , perching on a black throne,

like fire flares through the eternal darkness of mystery

and remains aflame, here, in this tiny room.

I stand motionlessly before her, ten steps away ,

dare not look at her straight to the eyes, but I know,

she is now looking at me , triumphantly ,the goddess,

yes, the holy goddess is looking at me,

through the innocent eyes of a five-years-old.

I come closer, to the scarlet wonder ,

and kneel down , as man always does before a deity ,

pranamasana , pranamasana.

and I pray, even though this grand religion

and its doctrine seem to me curious and exotic,

but no man can stand without a belief and passion,

for that, I must pray.

benevolently, she dubs on my forehead a red dot.