Banyan & Other Poems

by Marianne Lyon

 An Assortment of Asia— Living with Proverbs
Inspired by Four Chinese Proverbs

Endless scrolls of rice fields
a water color—fickle in shaded yellow light
bent farmer—willowy stalk, swallowed into the distance
flint-grey buffalo feasts on slippery roots
calves deep in muddy nutrients
“Be the first to the field
and the last one to the couch.”

Golden Buddha reclines under cinnabar stained temple
bronze urns, blue tiles, hanging persimmon
linen faces carefully cut as though with fine tools
eyes a pool of warm sunlight
effortless kowtow
“If you bow at all, bow low.”

War mines sob under sacred stones
maimed soldier plays ancient music for a dollar
dense heat wrings him thin
russet bells, rosewood harp, brass gong hums
melodies—a texture of pain
“If heaven made him,
earth can find some use for him.”

Pollution hides the stars
magenta lanterns, clouded amber lights
white masked faces, voices sharp as thorns
battle streets like spawning salmon raging up stream
“Be not afraid of growing slowly;
be afraid only of standing still.”

Mist on a Tibetan Mountain

Enlightened monks donned
in hooded white robes,
veiled Gothic spires,
venerable women’s translucent hair
dancing in moist cold air,

I am drawn to mountains
cloaked in mist.
marriage of vapor and giants
exposing summit views,
for only brief separations.

Oh, a magical sight,
Himawat—God of Snow
clear greatness,
calling wayfarers to become durable
even for moments.
Bidding pilgrims to grasp spiritual compasses
and ascend the ecstatic like canonized saints.

The shrouded time
when fragile film
provides the mighty peaks
repose from treks, flying flags;
floating valley news up
to stoic pinnacles.

Alas, to be a hermit
wrapped in cool silk haze
meditating on mountain majesty secrets;
learning to flow, evaporate and transform.

 

Banyan

In the beginning
from deep in the soul of earth
sparks rear to the sun

Shoots wander with wind
tossed by soft mist of coolness
strain to win the sky

Leaf-tongues whistle songs
applaud blustery storms
flutter like soft wings

Torso strong— smelted
caught between earth and heaven
roots cling to moist clay

Blessed with a long life
children grow from open arms
pliant as liquid

Young fingers swim down
self-reliant youngsters yet
cleave to mother’s strength

Roots— lava roads still
trek sacred crusades like
gnarled praying monks

squatting in deep jungle
enveloping crumbled walls
resting in the light

Banyan & Other Poems

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