Friday, December 02, 2005

André Naffis in Bonfire

I recently received the latest issue of Bonfire in the mail. This poem on page 97 appeals to me for its description of the statue and the contrast between ancient and modern culture.

Tokyo Rain

A laughing Buddha sits
wrapped in soaked orange robes,
shouldering a bag, slit eyes,
jade smile, head lowered, hands fastened in
a comical, rounded dough,
a plaque reads:
'I have a big
belly so that I can
accomodate things in our world
which are difficult to accomodate.'

A bat-wing-like umbrella darkens
sidewalks, as rain season
winds rip Omikuji fortune
paper slips
hung from treetops, performing
a mid-air ballet as traffic rolls
swiftly by.

André Naffis

The laughing, rounded Buddha is Hotei, the Buddha of health, happiness, and well-being. He is the reminder that spiritual peace does not require sacrificing laughter and pleasure. People often rub Hotei's belly for good luck.

Omikuji are slips of white paper upon which are written fortunes. Tying an omikuji onto a tree near a shrine will allow a good fortune to come true, or help an unlucky fortune to stay away.

The speaker witnesses in one space--and in one moment--the contrast between a deity who promises to "accomodate" all earthly difficulties and the reality of the modern world, illustrated by the passing traffic. The futures of those who visited the shrine are literally blown around in the wind, signifying an unknown future. The motorists, meanwhile, travel so quickly that they do not even notice Hotei and his offer to help.

Photo found at this netsuke site


Anonymous Poet said...

I like the description. It goes well with the photo. But I am not really sure what the purpose of the disjointed alignment is.

Thanks for sharing.

J.B. Rowell said...

I love:
'I have a big
belly so that I can
accomodate things in our world
which are difficult to accomodate.'
Gives me another excuse not to exercise - and as for the line breaks and spacing, I think they work.

silvermoon said...

Very informative post to me. Thank you!

Danny said...

I have seen Buddha statues in my travels and I was always curious about his laugh or smile.

My mother put the Buddha side by side with the statues of Saints at her altar. I asked her why placed the smiling Buddha beside the Saints and she replied, "my Saints are so serious..."

Thanks for this informative post Amy.

Anonymous said...

I love poems that capture a visual sense while creating a sense of motion. This poem really sets a distinction between the floating, spirtiual element and the modern, hurried element.

MB said...

I thought it was the bad fortunes that get tied to the tree - if so, that makes the end of the poem darker.
This poem allows for many interpretations — the fortunes being ripped by the wind in the face of the Buddha... and yet, some might say the contrasts the poem describes balance out in the greater whole. I really like the description of the Buddha.

I know what it is: this poem gives me the feel of a snow globe. Interesting. The Buddha sitting peacefully (laughing) in the midst of the rainstorm of Omikuji slips.

Graham said...

There's so much about Buddhism that speaks to our spirits and well being, that's why in spite of my staunch atheism I feel such an affinity for reading about the religion.

In many ways it's just human psychology, and finding ways to be more healthy with the way you digest the world, take advantage of its opportunities, and share your life with those around you.

Very cool post.

Josse said...

I was particularly struck by the words:
"I have a big
belly so that I can
accomodate things in our world
which are difficult to accomodate.'
It spoke to me of self-acceptance and being able to be in the body, in a big way. Something that the modern world tends to deny with it's emphasis on comfort and the magic bullet.

GEL said...

I hope you and yours are doing ok? I haven't seen you on the internet in a while, but it is a busy time of year. Take care, Amy!

Danny Sillada said...

Dearest Amy,

Hope you're doing fine, take care.

Best wishes this Christmas,


MB said...

Happy holidays to you, Amy!

Gilbert Koh said...

Amy, we miss you. Come back soon ... Merry Christmas.

garnet david said...

Best wishes to you, Amy. Peace and good will to you.


PRADEEP K. said...

Amy, going by your profile, I do believe that we are kindred spirits. I invite you to my blog to read the articles and poems.

It is my dream that my blog should become a place of sharing subtle knowledge, a place to discuss, to agree/disagree, and to obtain critiques on my work. I would like to have intellectuals, philosophers, poets, authors, thinkers and visionaries visit.

I ask that you honor me with your continued visits and that you comment on any/all of my work as you can make time. I will be frequently updating it with lessons I learn from life, and you are invited to visit as often as you wish, and to spend as much time as you wish in my blog.

Thank you in advance for your time.

P.S.: If you like my blog, do feel free to extend this invitation to any of your friends who may like to share.

TwistedNoggin said...

ooo, yes that is very interesting.

Dr. Grier said...


Where is January?
Fill my list
in perfection
One month follows another
Or not

I hold my breath

Billy said...

good poem.

Gilbert Koh said...

Guess we lost you to the offline world, Amy. Oh well. Good luck and take care, if you're still reading this .... I really enjoyed your blog, while it lasted.

Cherilyn Ferroggiaro said...

I enjoyed the structure and words v much.

Christopher Trottier said...

I love that poem.