This poem was written for a little town that I discovered in researching the country of Nepal. It is a very strange town. For one, it’s very high in the Himalayan Mountains. You cannot fly into it or drive into it. You have to be taken to a nearby city and then trek the rest of the way. This adds to the profound religious nature of the city. Three different religions make pilgrimages to this town: The Hindus, Buddhists, and those practicing animism (tribal religions). Here’s a link to the website promoting the town: http://www.muktinath.org/ When you browse through the pictures, you can see hundreds of thin flags hanging from lines all through the town, around the special sites. It is a city where earth, wind, fire, and water all meet – which adds to the perceived holiness. In one section, there are natural gases emitted from the ground which burn continually. In another section, there are 100 streams of water, coming from stone boar’s heads (which are one of the avatars of Vishnu). It is such a strange place, where so many people go to seek perdition and to maintain holiness. My heart has been with this town for a long time and here is my poem to it and the people who live and visit there.
December 30, 2003
Why are your eyes so red and tired?
Is the wheel not granting you peace?
Do the flames that surround you
Cause you grief and fear?
The girls come and dance at the temple
They wave their scarves
Full of color and devotion.
The women come to learn and serve
Giving their lives to the spirits of stone.
The boys come to pray.
The men come with red dripping from their faces and hands
Hopes of cleanliness and enlightenment.
You are searching, my love.
You are reaching for the One
But you grasp at these scarves, hanging in the breeze.
How I long to bring the Message.
Will someone share with you?
Who would take it up the mountain?
Climb into the crevasses so worn and dark with worship.
Stand on the ridge with your back to the wind.
You have become a scarf floating in the air.
An offering to the earth that you would join.
Dream of a God who loves you.
Dream of a God who died for you.
He will come and love you.
Come inside from the cold
from the harsh north wind.
Take shelter in the arms of the One who holds you.
– Sarah ><>