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The Garden Buddha

by Peter Pereira

Gift of a friend, the stone Buddha sits zazen,
prayer beads clutched in his chubby fingers.
Through snow, icy rain, the riot of spring flowers,
he gazes forward to the city in the distance—always
the same bountiful smile upon his portly face.
Why don’t I share his one-minded happiness?
The pear blossom, the crimson-petaled magnolia,
filling me instead with a mixture of nostalgia
and yearning.  He’s laughing at me, isn’t he?
The seasons wheeling despite my photographs
and notes, my desire to make them pause.
Is that the lesson?  That stasis, this holding on,
is not life?  Now I’m smiling, too—the late cherry,
its soft pink blossoms already beginning to scatter;
the trillium, its three-petaled white flowers
exquisitely tinged with purple as they fall.

 

From What’s Written on the Body. Copper Canyon Press, 2007.