Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Day Two Potala

Potala 1

anyone can see
these peasants were needful of liberation

from feudal superstition
from overlord rantings

look at the palace of chapels
devotion cascading
down the stone hill

hands threw all this up
they did it
by way of their thrall –
call devotion

in the land of snows
a lion throne

anyone can see here
handprints of the fifth Dalai Lama
footprints too
small but powerful

compassion can leave an impression
so can cold cash

how many tonnes of gold
still rest in the fifth’s
gorgeous tomb stupa?

white rabbits and golden monkeys
guide us through the Potala

to the snake room
aptly named for
the tantra tantrums here enacted

wakey wakey!
everything as the boy lama left it
except for the drifting veneer
of change renewed ever
in small notes from China

it was the fifth’s short lived successor who
could piss from the top of the Potala
and exercise such tantric acumen
that he could draw the urine
back up into himself
just before it hit the ground

he whom the Jesuit described
in terms of unbridled licentiousness
‘from whom no good looking person
of either sex was safe’

the seventh is famous for the sand mandala
has to be kept under glass

there’s centuries of strange time here –
all under eternity’s emblem

what if this tomb were the poor’s only joy?
this cave of sky here the only thing theirs

what if just this one opiate worked,
the other dull uniforms bromide?

anyone can see
these peasants needful of liberation
from overlord rantings
conception’s flat wheel

still turning and turning
home into dreams
the pilgrim’s way made

white rabbit and golden monkey
sweet magic dissolving in us

we dissolving
step by step down
like a woollen flag
from heaven
for winter
till no one
the steps
at all

call that
a liberation

in memory of that lovable rake
the sixth Dalai Lama

bring on the wisdom girls
tiger and apple

call me king if you like
high priest you prefer?

the bar-girl and the beer my refuge

‘as long as the pale moon
dwells on the mountain
bliss from the female form
is mine’

o I’ll come back as a handful of dust
but for the moment compassion’s form
suggests an earthier boyish norm
or you might call it lust


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