Thursday, September 25, 2008

Maitreyabandhu wins poetry prize

MaitreyabandhuLast year FWBO News reported Maitreyabandhu, from the London Buddhist Centre, had won first prize in the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition with his poem ‘Visitation’.

This year, he’s come second, and we’re pleased to reproduce his new poem, ‘The Bond’ here.

Maitreyabandhu writes –

“Dear Friend,

“I hope you don't mind me sending you this poem. I only send them out if they have won a prize or something (I dislike having poetry inflicted on me!...As I am sure you do) This poem won second prize in the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition (the competition I won first prize in last year). So I thought I would send it to you. It arose out of my meditation practice — in fact I wrote it straight after a meditation on a recent solitary retreat. I hope you like it. I also include the judges’ comments on it.

“Love, Maitreyabandhu

The Bond

Now that we are here again in this dark place
we must find something – a scratch of light,
an oval pebble. And we must sit here quietly
till he comes, wait patiently, not look
too often out of the window, not peep,
but know that he is coming, yes, and make
a clean place – like having clipped nails
and washed hands and a sharp pencil at the ready.
No crumbs. No digressions. We should say
gentle now and gentleness, like someone calming
a horse, or helping a child hold a kitten.
But not sweetly, not gingerly – hair pulled back,
buttons and a smock – he wouldn’t want that.
Just the air blowing through us. Just the air.

Linda Chase (judge): “This is an unrhymed sonnet in the contemporary style – not too strict on meter. It has a wonderful clarity from which arises a huge idea. Whether we think the speaker is waiting for the second coming of Christ, or for another kind of salvation, it is clear that tolerance and love will be part of the eventual realisation. The simple details employed in this poem totally disarm me. The last line, the last phrase – they are totally stunning.”

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