BE SWEET

Wandering one gathers honey.
— Sanskrit Proverb

 BE SWEET

the new Tibetan temple in Dehra Dun
gateway to the Himalayas
and refuge to many Tibetan refugees
had been consecrated just recently
by that old Cheshire cat himself
His Holiness the Dali Lama
his photo sits to the left of the altar
he is wearing a pink pointy party hat
and his bodhisattva smile
you know how Buddhists love big Buddhas
the bigger the Buddha the better
and there was a really big one
bigger than a billboard
more like a missile by an interstate exit
standing sentinel on a hillock
just beside the temple
the temple had a big seated Buddha
on the inside, all golden and serene
and one up on the second story outside
that looked funny to me
not quite symmetrical
and you know how Buddhists
love symmetry
there was something over
its left eye
dark, an amber shadow
very very odd indeed
well being Sunday
wouldn’t you know
the second story was open
so I got to go up
and take a closer look
that dark thing hanging
over the left eye
was a honeycombed hive
full of bees a buzzing
and honey
lots of dark amber honey
I wondered if I stood just below
with my tongue stuck out as far as it could go
and my patience keeping me still as a stone
if I waited and waited
would one drop fall
and when I taste it sweet
will a golden light
turn on
inside
my soul?
my friend Phyllis
tells a story about
her mother Pearl
they were part of a wedding party
at the Ritz Carlton
a swanky affair
they did not know
that who but that old
Cheshire cat
His Holiness
the Dali Lama
was staying there too
security was tight
when they met
the Dali Lama
at the elevator
he was the very same size
as Pearl who was at the time
a little old Jewish lady
Phyllis said he smiled
took Pearl’s hand
and led her into the elevator
no words were exchanged
before they got off
one floor up
you see Pearl did
not know who
the Dali Lama was
anymore than
he knew who was she
the moral of this story?
be sweet
you never know
who you are about
to meet.

Franklin Abbott
13 May 2007
Stone Mountain
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