Mandalay sunset.

Looking east towards the mountains of Shan,
I feel pleasure and pain in equal measure.
More importantly, I feel an infinite gratitude
for being able to drink from the cup of life,
for being woven into the fabric of history,
both cosmic and mundane,
both sacred
and profane.

A gentle breeze, the swarm of street-cries,
horns bellowing, the mortal day,
all divined.

It occurs to me that my generation has failed,
the world we are leaving our children is gargantuan, wretched,
finely attuned to disaster.

It also occurs that I was cradled
in the aftermath of war, in a fast-forgotten century,
in a shredded, devastated society.
Yet, birds still sing, flowers still bloom.
I wonder in fifty years time, whether my daughter
will say how grateful she is,
‘to drink from the cup of life’.

The mountains of Shan stand resolute and majestic.
They fade into a blue, medallioned dusk


Mandalay, Myanmar 2016