Tag Archives: poem

monks pause in phnom penh

Robes in Season

Monks in saffron,
though cliche,
are rare here.
Instead they wear robes the colour of navel-oranges
that have something of the look
of polyester.

Or,
a little less often,
the colour of red grapes –
of wine grapes –
deeper
and more self-aware.

Then today I saw one
the colour of pink grapefruit
on the back of a motorbike in thick traffic.
He did not look very transcendent,
but then, nor did he look polyester.
He flamed, incandescent, in the grey of that Phnom Penh street.

2014-12-06-07h29m51.jpg

Unfortunately I didn’t manage a photo of the monk in the pink-grapefruit robe, my hands and mind being taken up with riding my own motorbike at the time. But he was like no other monk I’d ever seen, and I wish I could have got a snapshot. 

Out of Season

It’s unseasonably wet, and Sihanoukville is quiet –
the tourists are staying
indoors,
or just
away.

At the beach
vendors of sea-shell necklaces,
coconuts,
and skewered prawns,
play with their children,
eat rice porridge,
or just stare at the half-full tour boats.

Painted in reds and teals,
they putter
back
and forth,
on the iron grey sea
that bleeds into the silver sky,
so that the more distant islands
drift
                    on the
                               breeze
                 that
           ripples
                       the horizon