LOTUS BORN, SUN BRED (for Sharma Rinpoche (1952-2014)

As day breaks on Swayambhu hill,
immovable stone
decapitated by the mist

jumps from its god-shapes.
Or is this just a band of monkeys
roaming the forest

haloed in sun-distilled air?
Or my monkey mind
tripping on a prayer-beaded

Om Mani Padme
? Lifted this morning
by Sharma Rinpoche’s

presence, I glide
down the steep stone steps
from the Stupa,

entreated by grasping hands
and an insistent whine:
one rupee, baksheesh give!

Cutting through the arc of my Kora,
my circling of the shrine,
I turn home as the sun lifts its palms

and unmet in praise
turns a collective fist upon damp
crumbling walls

Intent to rouse
the hermetic reclusive town
from its futile feudal


Swayambhu, 1979


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