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Archive for March, 2014

Angkor Thom, Cambodia

The light at dusk has changed
from crimson to a dark hued purple
and back to crystal whisps of hazeIMG_4696
adorned by tiny flecks of gold.
A line of monks
in orange and saffron robes
meander from the jungle,
young faces
round
brown
kissed by the wet
evening breeze
which has awakened
the call of thousands
of cicada
sounding like a warning alarm –
shrill and jarring
in this sacred scenery.
The monks
weave their way
through the banyan trees,
past the knee high
rock walls that once
supported massive arches
adorned with the three
faceted face of Buddha
eyes closed,
a gentle
smile of one graced
and compassionate.
This place
has seen monks
from dawn to dusk
for hundreds of years –
felt their light
foot falls
in the rich earth,
heard their deep
and throaty chants-
embraced their silent prayers:
in this their soul’s refuge,
where fallen walls
contain all their deepest fears…..

Just past the brush,
a donkey stands
as if suddenly awakened:
he stares dead ahead
past the monks
into some unseen mystery
and the sky changes hue
once again.
In the distance
thunder roars,
and the monks quicken their step,
their robes a thin
line of color
fading in the oncoming
darkness.
In my mind’s eye
I climb
into their wooden begging bowl
close,
ever so close
to their lotus heart.

 

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It has been many months since I have written – no less contributed to this blog.  I began this blog with my father, mentor and a great poet, Luis Zalamea.  We enjoyed writing each in our respective languages – he in Spanish, primarily – although he was completely fluent in English and in fact wrote a novel in the 60’s called The Hour of Giving – and me in English, although I too am fluent in Spanish and then arguing over minor translation issues ;it was our banter and ritual.  We collaborated on several poetry books and then in 2011 when my father wanted to publish another poetry book together, I convinced him to do a blog instead.  I am ever so glad. It was our constant bond and for the last three years of his life, he called it his “lifeline.”  He died in Feb of 2013 after living 91 amazingly full years.  I was blessed to have had the most amazing and fulfilling relationship any daughter could hope for with him, and very grateful am I for that gift.

In the year that he passed, I have struggled to come back to the joy of poetry.  I managed to eek out a few poems – mostly directly communicating with him, or about him or deeply influenced by him – they were dark poems, as one tends to produce when in grief – but now it is a full year since I have heard his voice, and yet I hear it even more clearly – his last words to me where – “don’t stop writing.”  And I did just that – alas, there is need for silence sometimes, and even solace in it – This is a new spring, slowly my words are coming back to me. I wish to honor  him with the joy of  new life.

This fall I did some traveling in the glorious Buddhist lands of Thailand and Cambodia, and it is with love and humility that I hope to share the beauty of these lands with my readers, and most importantly with my father – because I know he was there behind every mountain, temple, rice field or ocean view- looking with me and seeing through my eyes.

This poem inspired by Angkor Thom is my first in what I hope will be a long series.

Happy Spring to all!

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