Rue 113, Phnom Penh


Another morning to wake up to
Before getting weighed down
Later in the day.
A composed wind stirs
Each surface it touches
Gently as hands
Feverishly exploring,
Possessing another body.

Sipping black coffee
By the array of plants
On the white-tiled veranda,
Palms, bougainvillea, tiny citrus,
And red daisies, I see
The permutations of daily grind
Down the narrow street.
A woman stripping
Layers of lettuce leaves
By the window,
A vendor hawking her rice noodles,
Motodops passing through,
A pair of schoolboys playing fierce football
As a grandma splashes water
On the ground
To inhibit the surge of dust,
A couple of bare-footed monks
With silver bowls making the round
For the day’s provision.

This lure of images clashes
Against a delicate mantle
Of sanity.
What country really
Is the terminus
Of all that are known
And ravaged by use?
Savage desires, greed,
And insidious schemes,
How they overpower plain
Strength of goodness?
It is good that there is a morning
Like this, a calmness
Charmed by birds
And thoughts fly high
To an enduring sky.

17 February 2003
Phnom Penh, Cambodia


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