I took
The feet-kissed path;
It has brought me here-

The mouldy drywall
Of an abbey,
A Japanese cedar untouched
By autumn,
The sweet reserve of a young monk
Evading camera eyes…

Buddha
Soaked in morning glory-
A large dew drop
On his bronze forehead,
Dear as a pearl,
A cleric sketching brief gestures-
Probably telling me to be seated…

I devote myself
To the Lotus Sutra
of the mystic Law,
The tom-tom of the prayer,
The geometry of shadows
Cast by paper lanterns,
The patterned trance….
We are one with the universe,
The cosmos speaketh through us…

My mind reflects
A tarnished mirror.
I rely on the placebo drug
Of pride…
Sometimes I lie,
The truth is too tame,
Too shameful…

Is it enlightenment I seek?
Or my own share
Of Buddha wisdom?
I can’t be sure…
I seem to slide
Through life.
I wander as I wander…
They say it is karma-
The word sure gets thrown around.
Perhaps I am the lotus,
Rooted in dirt,
I too see the sky
Through heaven’s eye…
I am what I think, I dream…
In dreams
I scale imaginary peaks.

 

  • The poem was inspired by my visit to a Nichiren Buddhist monastery in Darjeeling. “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra of the mystic Law” is the literal translation of the Buddhist chant “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

 

Reshma Austin

Reshma Austin

Reshma Austin is a writer from Trivandrum, Kerala. She received M.A. and M.Phil in English from the English department of Kerala University. A collection of her recent poems, I am, was published by the Writers’ Workshop, Kolkata..

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