Before the guru went away
he'd put aside possessions
a neatly folded tower
of cloth (some hand woven)
a few wrought silver boxes
befittingly inlaid and inside one
some monochromes in A5 size:
self-portrait with trophies for the Raj
three seated men, turbaned, with implacable faces
("saints" inscribed on the back)
beside them, a full set of teeth.
"He's gone to die" the followers said
"Up the mountain" and they took the path
calling his name in vain
On a branch, his spectacles swung
specked with rain.
The guru had looked his last
on the world below.
Later they divvied up his belongings
all the cloth, the silver, the photos
only one declined. Hers, the spectacles
hoping to see the way.
Part true story inspired by Carrie’s photo prompt for The Sunday Muse
26 thoughts on “Trappings”
What an incredible story poem you have woven here Laura! I can see the guru’s journey away and his priceless possessions. The ending is absolutely wonderful,; vision in both it’s meanings! An absolutely amazing prose poem!
thank you Carrie and for giving this prose poem a start
What a remarkably touching prose poem! It reminded me of going through my husband’s dresser drawer after he died….a moment I had not revisited for a very long time.
thank you Bev for being touched
p.s. all their trappings help us relinquish!
This has a strong and universal narrative, well deployed in a prose sort of directness, yet never losing the arc of poetry. When we go to die, we will need a different set of specs, and our possessions will be the tools of others, indeed. A pleasure to read.
thank you for some very nice feedback – especially regarding “the arc of poetry”
Very cool. Made me think about Gandi, those metal spectacles of his. “Full set of teeth” a perfect detail. And in the end only once disciple who really understood.
well seen – one who understood. Thank you!
One must wonder what the guru saw in that last look down on our world … Perfectly penned, Laura.
he saw the world of illusion as ever, Helen!
He no longer needed those glasses as what he saw, he took with him.
What an incredibly beautiful poem, Laura. Moving…
insightful Marina! thank you for your kind words
This reminds me of how the present Dalai Lama, when he was two, identified a pair of spectacles belonging to the preceding Dalai Lama as “Mine!”, thus identifying himself as his reincarnation. Very cool poem. I love it.
there is an accidental connection with your comment as this wise man lived mostly in Dharamsala
The words “the Raj” gives a key to who could the Guru be, specially with specs. The poem takes me to the late 40’s of the last century. Love the details.
Hope this time the comment posts.
thank you for taking the trouble to comment Sumana – this guru had no fame but lived at the time of the Raj and well beyond- he is part of a personal yogic lineage
Wow Laura! Wish to hear more about such enlightened souls in poetry.
We’ve been going through photos lately (new year organizing) and those lines leapt out, the journey in flashcard but not in map. An idea to linger over.
nice equation of photos with flashcards – of such illusory moments are our lives constituted
ah, the gift of true sight, both a metaphor and a reminder maybe, to remember what he taught, to see the way he saw. very well done.
concisely and precisely seen Phillip – many thanks
Unique, wonderful poem, Laura. I like the refusal of the spectacles.
yes all overlooked the specialness of the spectacles except her – many thanks for your appreciation
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