Poem – Welcome

Tears fall upon the lotus
growing near the red water.

A robed figure walks the
dirt path from the bay

carrying a full bucket
not one drop is spilled

as they descend a hill
leading to the monastery.

~

Trees give up their leaves
to the earth, the earth

gives the leaves to animals,
what is left goes to the

insects and back to the earth.

~

In the evening the doors close
while they prepare an offering

for the forest and a meal for
themselves and guests.

~

Travellers pass the simple iron gates daily
while a few will enter.

The road leads through a pine forest,
an empty field, before passing the gardens.

~

Many people are hunched over
or carrying vegetables to wagons.

The sun is hot and the sky is clear
the wind is calm and the tress are tall.

I stop and watch a woman leading a child
toward a field of carrots or potatoes.

A man went and joined them and together
they pulled food from the earth.

~

I continued past the gardens until
I reached the front of a large

building surrounded by white magnolias
and purple flowers I did not recognize.

The doors opened with no hesitations and
no questions asked of my bare feet,

scars across my back and holes in my hands.

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