Subitha Baghirathan

At Kandalama Hotel, Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Gazing down on to the dense canopyLeaves of aventurine, jade and beryl.Seated securely above on the rocky platformMy mind is released to imagine him:The Enlightened One.With the slow gait of an elephantThe soft tread of a leopardHe traversed Indian forests like the one below.The destination the journey itself.Each step aware, firm, essential. “Surely you feel fearOf wild animalsOf robbers, thugs, murderers?”He was asked.No denial of fearNor distraction away from fearNor barrier erected to keep out fear.“I feel fear, I keep walking,”His reply.As there is dukkha*, so there is fear.Our only true choiceOur reaction. I see him walkingMy eyes lensed with envy-Reflecting the shades of green in the leaves below-Of his capacity to walk freelyHooded only by a still mindCloaked simply in kindness.An elegantly modest endeavour.A vexingly intricate challenge.No forward- planningNor checking of messagesNor dwelling on regrets.Just walking. I am a lotusHeld fast by the mudOf habitual actions, thoughts, biases.Raising my headWith agonising but languorous slownessIn response to droplets of Dharma* rain.Some days, I too walkJust walk. *dukkha- Sanskrit word used in the Buddha’s teachings (Dharma), usually translated as ‘unsatisfactoriness, pain, discomfort, or suffering’. Refers to whole spectrum of how life, experiences, conditions, outcomes etc may not feel satisfactory; may bring pain; or may not bring lasting contentment to a person. Dolgellau, riverside With surety, there exists peace and stabilityWhen such green makes itself flagrantly available.One monosyllable for a Bacchanalian feast of hues.A writer floundersWhilst a painter silkily mixes and creates rainbows of greens. The colour seeps aromas.The core- deep animal in me opens her eyes, rises up.A hare sits alert on sinewy legs.Breath-catching beauty of slender, fluted earsLeaning into each leaf-trill,Every chord strummed by the breeze on a canopy.Nose discerning the green motes suspended in the air. A liminal offered by green- ness,The scythed line of the horizon,The crystalline notes of a bird repeated steadfastlyOn a metronome’s beat.Rumination sidles back in through a chink in the doorMy mind re-enters kitchen-sink thinkingWashing up crockery crusted with plansStained with “should have”Smeared with judgementsSoaked in self. Almost unbearableThe peace and stability of now, here.Sweet surety of its transience. Subitha is an equalities’ activist of Sri Lankan heritage, living in Bristol since 1999. Her memoir of her time in Saudi Arabia with her family- The Colours of Sand- was published in 2012 by Bristol independent publisher, Tangent Books. She features in Lyrically Justified vol. 3 (2019), an anthology of poems by Bristol-based Poets of Colour. Motherhood; her Buddhist faith; race and gender equality activism- all influence her poetry. Subitha is a Mitra (friend) of the Triratna Buddhist Centre in Bristol.