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Lee Evans

Fünf Gedichte

The Lotus Born


From far beneath the ocean’s foam,

With sight restored in his left eye,

The wish-granting gem in his hand,

King Indra-Bodhi journeyed home;

By the great Serpent King supplied,

To save the blind ones wasted land.


A rainbow shimmered o’er a lake,

Although there were no clouds. “Last night,”

He said, “I dreamt that from the sky

A dorje in my hands was placed,

And from my heart a sun shone bright,

Illuminating far and wide.”


Embarking in a nearby boat,

The king rowed toward the rainbow arch,

Where on a fragrant lotus sat

A little boy in Buddha pose:

Lotus and trident did he clutch,

And tiny holy-water pot.


“Wisdom alone is sire to me;

My mother, the transcendent Void;

My country is the Dharma realm;

I have no caste, profess no creed;

Lust, anger, sloth I shall destroy;

Perplexity sustains me well.”


King Indra-Bodhi raised the child

To be his heir and guru. Hence

Began my downfall; for this same

Self-born one came to end the guiles

I plied upon the ignorance

Of fellow beings I betrayed.


A priest was I in a past life,

A dedicated celibate

Who broke faith for a courtesan,

And was reborn to feel the strife—

My body covered foot to pate

With organs of generation.


One day as I, who dwelt apart

Alone and shunned, on men did spy,

I saw my lover once again,

Born as a king’s son; and with arts

Of magic, I became a fly

That lighted on the infant’s head.


But he who from the Lotus sprang

Did cast a pebble with such force,

Not only did it strike me dead

But drove into the infant’s brain

My carcass, slaying him in course,

Much to his mother’s grief and dread.


“Had it not been for karma’s reign,”

The Lotus Born said to the King

Who raised him from a foundling babe,

“The pebble never could have slain

Both fly and prince. My lord, all things

Arise and fall like ocean’s waves.”


The King’s advisors all condemned

The Lotus Born to hang to death.

“This cannot be,” the King replied.

“It may be that the origin

Of this my son be more, not less,

Than human. Let him be exiled.”


“Behold,” the Prince said to the King,

“Born of their actions are they all

Who cling to them. Through karma’s course

That brings about the way of things,

In correspondence with the will

The world evolves, for good or worse.


The King said, “In your exile, roam

Wherever you may like to dwell—

Except here.” Said the Prince, “To me,

Wherever I may chance to go,

“Tis there that my religion swells,

And there my works of mercy breed.


‘The body is impermanent,

“’Tis like a cliff from which you crash.

The breath goes in and out, to pass

Like clouds beneath the firmament.

The mind is like the lightning’s flash,

This life like dew that gems the grass.”


Lonesome Old Graveyard

These stones are here to make a wall

Between the Present and the Past;

They soothe us, like the moss that grows

Upon our speechless Epitaphs.


As soon as we are born we roam

This cemetery’s fateful yard,

Stoop-shouldered with our memories--

To lay them down is too too hard.


It’s such a park-like setting, though;

Unlike the grounds of  Buddha’s day.

What’s out of sight is out of mind--

Or so it seems to us to say.


Think back to ancient India,

And lay your Ego’s burden down

Where, swollen, blue, and festering,

The corpses are strewn all around.


Oh who could bear to see them laid,

In olden times, where hawks and crows,

Black vultures, jackals, dogs and worms

Licked meat from off their crazy bones?


Whose weeping eyes today have chance

To scrutinize those skeletons

Whose flesh and blood’s last remnants hang

In ragged shreds by loose tendons?


The undertaker primps and preens

Our loved ones like our children’s dolls:
The fear that drives this modern age

Promotes his business aims withal.


Compassionless, we turn our heads

From all in whom ourselves we see--

In spite of all our former lives,

Denying what we all must be.


For gamblers play against the odds,

And bet their bodies on the deal

With bones gone loose as tumbling dice

Cast thoughtlessly upon the Wheel.


The bones of hand and foot and thigh,

Of skin and pelvis, spine and shin,

Will contemplate no funerals

While lying in the rain and wind.


What chance have you to recognize

Your Image in that charnel field,

Stripped down to bones that rot and drift

Like dust upon the Ancient Mirror?


We modern folks have no such thoughts

While roaming in this world’s graveyard,

Stoop-shouldered with our memories--

To lay them down is too too hard.


It’s such a park like setting, though;

Unlike the grounds of yesterday.

What’s out of sight is out of mind--

Or so it seems to us to say.


These stones are here to make a wall

Between the Present and the Past:

They soothe us, like the moss that grows

Upon our speechless Epitaphs.


Midnight Viewing

As I lie in my coffin

I can hear the rats strain,

Gnawing at the rotting wood—

Starved for my remains.


How fortunate am I

To be engulfed by them!

These rats have all the answers—

Such vast information.


Once they devour me,

My apotheosis is sure:

I will become omniscient

When they digest my words.


Why then do I shudder,

Unmoving and pretending

Not to notice or to care

For such a happy ending?


I should lift my coffin’s lid,

Let them in for a feast

Upon my flesh and entrails,

From my head to my feet.


But I demur, reluctant

To raise myself from death

(Though only death in seeming).

So I hold my breath—


For it would be a shame

To open up my bower,

Only to scare them back

Into the murk of the witching hour!


Mummy Portrait


You are dead, my child, as am I,

but I will always love you.


Your eyes tell me secrets I hide from myself.

Do you believe in the afterlife?


I believe that the afterlife is now.


The world without eyes is blind.

The world without ears is deaf.


I am seeing your eyes,

but what is it I hear?


I believe that we never died,

that we were dead already,

that we are living now in death.


Before you were wrapped in swaddling clothes

and laid in a feeding trough, I worshiped

the Idea of you. 

                           Before you were conceived

I conceived of you,

I conceived of myself as you,

I conceived of nothing

and the world evolved out of my ignorance.


The damage has been done.

Let us deal with the debris.

Let us make the best we can

of the errors of the past.


We can still make this work.


You are dead, my child, as am I,

but I will always love you.


There is No Future in Your Eyes


There is no future in your eyes,

The gaze I scan with fond desire.

I cannot read them or surmise

The ardor of their seeming fire—

What warmth below their surface lies. 


No present in your eyes appears,

No look but mine betrays itself.

I fail to pierce beyond your stare

And seize the vague, elusive elf

That lures me with my hopes and cares.


Within your eyes no past is found,

No witness to my memories.

I look away and look around,

And nothing but your eyes I see—

The eyes that blind me and confound.


Lee Evans lives in Bath, Maine with his wife and cat. He has self-published several volumes of poetry, which can be found on Amazon and Bienvenue à la Danse, Lee.

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