When all the shops in town
Hang a closed sign
For the common man to flock
To a draped seat where enlightenment
Radiates from lips through ear.
Still sermons, they don’t move
The Himalayan mountains
Through a crack in the conscience,
Nor people less attracted to color
And light, wanting so much
To be one with the cardinal therapy
Of light flocking out of colored media;
Paper and glass, changing the landscape
Of a million faces, to bloom lip-petals
As shimmering aureoles.
The busy bodies inside
A temple, dressed in white
Can be seen as immovable monoliths
Attaining sil. While the children
Make buckets of a myriad colors
And shapes to make the night
A bonanza of light.
The dichotomy of a day
When adults are in hermitage
In a profound meditation
And the children are scampering
Like ants to gather crumbs of light
Stitched together on stringed wire.
And in between you will
Find people flocking to eateries (Dansal)
To partake a meal that is more
Symbolic than anything else.
Like the full moon is on a poya day.
And still there’s proof
Of real charity, like when on this holiday
Loved ones gather around a cancer ward
In mahargama, to gaze at a bald headed
Child who looks a little like
The little monk in the temple.
And all it takes is the labor of the human heart
To make a little child smile and attain a state of hope
Like there is the promise of tomorrow
And perhaps the miracle of a cure.
The darling moon
And a bevy of saffron robes
Reminding us all that yellow
Is the cynosure of the Vesak day.
And a meditative or perhaps a reclining Buddha
Can be seen on a larger than life pandol
Illuminated by a million fairy lights,
Reminding the serene onlooker
That true virtue and not filaments of light
Is the true mark of a man
And on the periphery of town
You find a beggar still begging after dark
Searching for the shimmer of a golden coin
To shine like the full moon.
It only takes 5 rupees to shine a moment
To a fragile frame searching for some mercy.
We are all Midases with
Little aureoles in our wallets.