2533 in the Buddhist Era

There’s no need to rush
when you’re this far ahead.
All the time in the world and as much
of the world in the time I have.

In my journal I repeatedly write
eventually eventually and then
between paragraphs of water,
of beaches, of palm trees;
pages of staggering conversations.
When you’re this far ahead
there’s no need to hurry.

Elephant heads
on the gate to the temple,
dogs sleeping in the sun.
Monks saunter away in robes saffron,
the colour of the world’s impermanence.

And looking at a calendar
I thought how long ago did I leave?

Questions and Answers

What inspired “2533 in the Buddhist Era”?

I wrote “2533 in the Buddhist Era” during or after my travels in Thailand in 1990. The “elephant heads/ on the gate to the temple” refer, I believe, to a temple I visited near Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. The poem was also inspired by the imagery of the robes of the Buddhist monks, by the abundance of images I saw while traveling, and by a timelessness that came about as a result of my traveling for an extended time.

What poetic techniques did you use in “2533 in the Buddhist Era”?

Some of the techniques that I used have to do with sound, repetition, imagery, and metaphor.

This poem “2533 in the Buddhist Era” originally appeared in Postcolonial Identities. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 149 (Summer 1996): 35-35.

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