An extraordinary, spellbinding poetic account of Thailand's people, places, temples, Buddhism and spirit world.
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Worms Eye View
Disabled beggars with plastic begging bowls.
Ferraris and snow-white Bugatti Veyron;
a swimming pool filled with ice for New Year’s Day;
westernized nose jobs;
lady boys and budget sex changes.
Ghosts and Spirit doctors;
mediums offering lunch
to the spirits that possess them;
body snatchers lurking below motorway bridges;
menus offering one day dried pig
and son-in-law’s testicles.
Temples thundering out
their disenchanting message that all this
is impermanent, not-self and suffering.
There is poetry (and humour) in
They reveal dimensions and levels of being
which we are usually unaware of
because we don’t believe in them.
We believe what we see
but we tend to see what we believe.
Here, the lives of men and women have a bareness
and ordinariness which is itself extraordinary.
The incidents are recorded as they were,
though the perspective and tone varies.
CITY OF ANGELS
Shafting sunbeams, mist eddies,
towering, sculpted, shining chedis,
thundering traffic, six lane highways,
swampy, shabby, back-street by-ways,
mangoes, sticky rice, dom yams,
sqeezed into the Mother of all Trafic Jams....
Today a hundred yards of green lawn
along the river promenade,
interspersed with small trees and bushes,
are ready for trimming.
Fifteen men and woman
with strimmers, baskets and long-handled brushes
are given the job of creating great clouds
of fine green and brown dust,
interspersed with sitting and laughing
in a circle in the shade,
to give the heat of the day a chance to fade;
a not unpleasant communal occupation.
This would cause a sensation,
or even provoke an outrage
in England, where one Council Worker
must do it all on the minimum wage.
UMA DEVI AT HOME
In Chao Mere Uma Devi's Temple,
Uma Devi's room is ample
and amply protected by two Brahmins,
with stylish beards and
devotees kneeling at their feet.
Siva, her husband,
(May all Devotees adore Him!)
has a much smaller shrine nearby;
and only one Brahmin,
with one devotee kneeling at his feet.
His Brahmin speaks neither English not Thai
and is uncomfortable with the heat.
It seems progressive feminism
has infiltrated the Vedas.
Will the Sacred Lingum
to the Yoni on Mount Kailas?
Four foot tall
grey goatee beard
sharp incisive eyes,
he squats each morning on the pavement
of Silom Road;
with his back to the eternal struggle
of bus and taxi
with a plastic cup
collecting his alms round
of single baht coins.
His sense of humour is undeniable.
What merit do his benefactors reap?