Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ode to Japanese Buddhism

On the first warm Wednesday in February
Sky over Kyoto an unbroken robin’s egg
We walked to shrines and temples
To see the geisha dance and twirl fans
Had packets of beans flung at us by old men
I won a bottle of Moon Crown Sake
And you some tea flavoured rice cakes
We happily dropped coins in the offering box
Gripped the three twined cord and rang the bronze bell
Lit incense sticks and washed out face in smoke
Walked through Clear Water Temple
Took pictures of the Old Capital
And commented on the strange gods and amulets there

If my hometown Catholicism
Had had more Roman panem et circenses
Perhaps I would not hate every memory
Of being kicked awake Sunday morning to receive Jesus’ love
Or gagging on incense and dust in the old cold cathedral

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