(Deepavali or Festival of Lights,

17 October 2009)


In this magisterial pronouncement

(which may not be a poem)

I declare that my Buddha is not fashioned

exquisitely of stone, wood, porcelain

or metal and yet is gilded by sorrow

and offertory of pain,

resembling every animal in the world

undergoing torture.


Today, especially, he seems to be

a black bear in a lamentable cage

welded shut by his tormentors

who milk him constantly for bile

and blood, eventually to slaughter him

and ‘harvest’ alike his body parts.


Even so may a living Bodhisattva

be dissected into seeming diminution

and apparent oblivion

by Satanic human greed

nihilistic, can-n-i-ballistic–


I can offer my suffering Buddha

no incense or flowers

as he rages silently, bitterly

in his abominable Chinese cage

but in my heart light a clay lamp

and fold my hands to him

in sorrow, homage, admiration

and gold-leaved adoration

for the Bear-Bodhisattva’s Passion

is a generic geoglyph

that may be read only by

divinities from far above.


~ Vasumathi Krishnasami, Bangalore.