Thursday, November 17, 2005

Day Five

Day Five


a day’s fast on roof tiles

among the street’s calls

it was a fitful sleep brought me

ineffably distant hills

the pavement smoking

call dusk

mists wreathe

in mountainous day

edges dull green

damp in the courtyard below

watch birds diving

out of rooftops rising


all red flags now

fresh at the breezes

how tawdry old prayers

limp swaying in clouds

sign the decaying order

by the window opposite

man of my age sits smoking

child in the window too

bobbing agitated as if full of questions

behind – a wife cooking

all the one room

refuge in bed

for the loose bowelled voyeur

smoke manages its way to clouds

as if there were no distance at all

hear rain on a tin roof

telling me home

beggars of Lhasa

elbow pinchers


great unwashed

ingenious folk

hard to see how they do it

where the limbs and the timber attach

to what end

meld with the pilgrims

who will say they are not?

I place a biscuit in the beggar’s bowl

discover the child

only seemed to be hungry

the busking chant

which makes pilgrim mendicant

or is it the other way around?

the way won’t be told

nor will names be named

so why not sit down in the road

take what comes?

compassion is all we humans require

it has to be bodied, a home

a traveller’s tale

meet Constipated Woman, meet Mr Squirt –

a third world travelling Jack Sprat and wife

toyed with the idea of a swap

but it’s best in the end to own your own ailments

dizzy days

on the tiles

sun struck

wind driven

weary we take the Jokhang circuit

old Lhasa hands now

see the black faced sheep

bleat for high pasture

take off the pressure and nothing runs right

even this Rolls Royce

of cheap Chinese fountain pens –

this hero

behaves erratically

now it’s come to the great wall

I have in mind


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