Rescuing the Buddha

Periwinkle, aka myrtle. Photo: Anne Burgess, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Sometimes the poem writes itself, and sometimes it speaks for itself, too. So I won’t bother with any further explication.

Rescuing the Buddha

Twenty years ago, he sat enthroned on a marble plinth
in a little clearing among the lilacs facing a sandstone slab
where I would sit in contemplation on my blue zafu.

But one night a storm wind uprooted three pines, toppling
them onto the lilac bower, toppling Buddha from his seat.
And so I left him, waiting for spring to unlock the land.

And then I left him some more. Years passed in busy-ness.
But sometimes I would peer into the spreading wilderness
to see if I could catch a glimpse of the fallen effigy.

Retired now, I find myself with time to battle back
the invasives, the deadfall, the smothering grape.
I chop and saw, dig and plant, rip out roots, fell trees.

I see a block of white overgrown with feather moss,
surrounded by myrtle. Cutting a path through dead lilac
to the marble block, I see a bump in the green beside it.

Going to my knees, parting the ground cover, I find Buddha,
back turned to me, face down in myrtle. I take him in my arms,
wash his dirty face, and stand him back up in the morning sun.

Twenty years have wrought many changes in this body, 
in this mind. But the Buddha is unchanged. Face down
in the dirt, raised up high into the light–same same.

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1 Response to Rescuing the Buddha

  1. David Duff says:

    My Buddha is a stone foundation I determined to heighten 30 years ago. Having finally completed the task yesterday my body is expressing extreme annoyance at the wait.

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