Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Myanmar: Version 2 - Poetics

Sign in Pindaya Temple



         Morning on the river.  Fog-lift and fishing boats. She steers, he hauls the net. Or the solitude of a man alone in a boat all day, every day the same until the sand runs out.  
      All native boats speak grace as their mother     tongue.
       That lovely yellow ginger flower! Why is it called The Weeping Goldsmith? It is said that the goldsmiths were reduced to tears since none of their creations could rival its exquisite form. The American botanist who “discovered” the flower on a remote patch of land realized, as I did, that Weeping Goldsmith (Pa deign no) is sold in all the flower stalls near the temples, so ‘exquisite’ can take its place next to the Buddha.  
      The tattooed woman with the feathered flicker keeps the crows away from the offerings of fruit.

     At Kyaikmaraw many of the Buddhas are at eye level, and their gaze meets yours.  You are their goal, since they have already gained heaven.   
Photo by Bill Fulton

      The boat crosses Inle Lake past tomatoes grown on floating islands. Bamboo poles fasten the islands to the lake bottom like straight pins in fabric. You could remove the pins and tow the island anywhere in the lake. 

      Egret on an islet of water hyacinth. Traveling like this, on the move, you keep saying goodbye to beauty.

      In Pagan, a girl gets the custodian to open the Temple of the 37 Nats (spirits & supernaturals) for us,  then she walks me down the  line of sculptures explaining each one, laughing at the whiskey-drinking spirit who races horses. And there’s Durga,  black garbed, scarved and shawled, riding her tiger, a migrant worker-goddess from Hinduism, who I last encountered in a cave in India.  




      Humans circumnavigate the stupa clockwise, but the birds circle to the right, going against the clock. Is that the secret of flight?   

      Morning.  Climbing the Tower. Temples in all directions as far as you can see. Tearjoy. Temples scattered across the plain like Buddhaseeds flowering into gold stupas.  
Who can take in the vastness of the past? 

Photo by Bill Fulton