rain of eternity,
hard ray of compassion,
what has brought you here?

the promise of forgiveness?
the clanging of bells, blaring of trumpets,
the Clear Light
when you finally come to rest?
the silence of the heart
when it can no longer barter or plead?
the still shudder of memory
when the wheel stops turning,
at least for this body,
this life

you know the hour, the place,
you saw the candle-glow on the chalice,
you read the clouds of prophecy and superstition,
they are swept up now
in a cerulean gaze
of someone not-you

raw peaks of beauty momentarily clasped,
hope and hopelessness banished,
only the cremation fire, unabated,
only the unerring fire

standing resolute on the banks of Dri Chu,
river of desecration,
river of redemption


‘gāte (Sanskrit) pronounced ‘gar-tay’, from the Prajna Paramita (Heart
Sutra). The complete line is ‘gāte gāte paragāte parasamgāte bodhi svaha’.
Possible translations are ‘going, going, going on beyond, always going on
beyond, always becoming Buddha’ or alternatively, ‘gone, gone, totally
gone, totally completely gone, enlightened, so be it.’

*Dri Chu the Tibetan name for the Yangtze river in the mountains of
Kham, the crucial crossing point for the Chinese PLA invasion of Tibet in
the 1950’s