Thursday 31 March 2022


I write my experience in sand this time,

wanting it forgotten.

Not like last time, every day recorded

in verse and flower, a memory scripture, 

a treasure.


Older now, none the wiser now.

Just swimming in the sea of me,

a current of one, in the ocean of all.

More scared now, knowing how far 

the fall.


In some ways, it is all the same.

Gold dust on white blossom, still plump. 

And yet, already, the slow drift

to green grass, to soft earth,

to winter down.


The nuns have so much to remember, 

like nurses, saving lives.

They need the bell even more than we do,

we, temporary retreatants – fleeing our worlds,

escaping to theirs.


Breathing in, I breathe with my father’s back.

Breathing out, I breathe with my father’s lungs.


I invited my father to join, 

but he declined, knowing I would 

bring him in anyway. 

It’s harder for some, no light or ease,

but the bells toll on.

Drepung Monastery, Xizang, Tibet

The birds are here, the birds are there.

My cup of tea grows cold, again.

Mother breathing in with me, 

mother breathing out with me.

I want both things at once.


To choose is to lose. Something. Sometimes.

Can anything stay a secret?

And still, we try so hard to hide.

Suddenly, the flood gates open.

Everyone cries.


The gold is gone now. Soon, 

Sister Tea Cake will sound the bell

for final goodbyes.

Everyone cries.



Present moment,

wonderful moment. 

Thây is still alive. Smile. 

Be still and heal. 


© Shaista Tayabali, 2022

Thây, Tu Hieu Temple, Hue, Vietnam

poem linked to Dverse Poets OLN 



Ingrid said...

Just beautiful, Shaista, I find myself enchanted by your words!

brudberg said...

Wonderful words... I love how you incorporated your parents.

scotthastiepoet said...

Magnificent Shaista - my favourite of the night so far - wonderfully lyrical and wise too - it swept me away... Thank you for your profound reflections - a true gift from your soul...

Callsign Santa said...

This is further than experience.....wonderful running thought...and that line...when you choose

paeansunplugged said...

Reconciling is never captured the process so beautifully and wisely, Shaista.

JadeLi said...

I like reading what to me is a meditative stream of consciousness.

Mrityunjay Dixit said...

Meditative and soothing!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This poem-prayer took me deeply into meditation. My heart lifted at "Thay is still alive." So beautiful, it slowed my breath, my calm joined with yours, and your mother's, and your father's. I love your new banner with the pupster!!!!!!!

perveenart said...

Love the beautiful poem. Such lyrical words.
Shaista, the writer and poet.

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