Stream's Poems


Last night, when I was prancing and playing
In a circle of drummers
A small brown child solemnly reached out for me to hold her
She wasn’t smiling
She was so serious and determined when she ventured
Into the arms of the unknown for the first time
Trusting, that love would be there too.

Last night, a week ago, a Tibetan monk
Cradling a container of sand
Rode in the front seat of my beat-up Toyota
Past the Capitol and the Washington Monument
To the Potomac River.
Sand of many colors
Until an hour ago it formed a mandala intricate in detail
The Abode of the Medicine Buddha
Created grain by grain by four monks
Travelers from afar on a mission of peace
Five days of meditative labor
Kneeling in sweltering heat in their saffron and burgundy robes
And incongruous safety goggles.

At the end of the fifth day, just an hour ago
There was chanting and ringing of bells
The beautiful design was ceremoniously erased
Every grain of sand swept into this brass vessel
The monk next to me now holds in his lap
We have a bond, he and I
We share the love of music, flute players both
Both servants of the Medicine Buddha
“The Blissful Lord, shining with the light of Lapis Lazuli;
Whose compassion suffuses all beings…”

At the rivers edge, happy people are fishing
And barbecueing
The monks chant; we blow the conch-shell trumpet
And the many-hued sand is poured into the water
Sent with the current to the ocean for the benefit of all beings.

In the West, across the shimmering reflection of the huge orange sun
Motorboats come and go
And roaring jet planes take off from the airport
When we hug and have our pictures taken.

Last week I drove a Tibetan monk on a sacred mission
Last night that chubby and serious child trusted me to carry her forth
Today, what is asked of me, and what gifts are offered?

Copyright Stream Tomas Ohrstrom, July 2003.


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