Ghazal of the Transcendental

Why can’t the Buddha vacuum underneath the sofa?
Because he has no attachments. ~ Kaspalita Thompson


One of the neighbors has a new statue of the Buddha, plunked down in her garden.
Perhaps she got it at a Black Friday sale, camped out all night, came home singing.

The Buddha teaches that we want to work free of delusion and suffering
in order to ascend, like the wren in the lilac, full-throated, singing.

I don’t know too many intimate details about his life but I do know
the Buddha was not a woman doing chores all day, much less singing.

Suffering is a pain in the ass, in the neck, in the heart mostly; since I
suffer knowing my children’s hurts, will I never know that lithe, joyous singing?

So the sacred verses speak of attachment and illusion. I know, but with all due
respect, it’s hard to feel detached when you nick yourself shaving (not singing).

Perhaps in the wilderness, in solitude, there might not be the struggle that comes of engagement: but even then, there is the noise the mind makes in its own singing.

The Buddha can’t vacuum underneath my sofa. Or under the beds. Or do the dishes.
I know, I know. If I were to detach from these tasks, they’d be easy as singing.

And one must sing rather than drone, don’t you think? Even in the bramble, that’s
what the birds are saying: the richer the song, the more complex the singing.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

8 Replies to “Ghazal of the Transcendental”

  1. I do love this, because it shows the humanity of ordinary humans, my Buddha was human too, as well as something else.

    Just to throw the cat among the pigeons my Buddha is definitely without, and not within. ;)

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