Alfred Brendel

(1931 / Loučná nad Desnou)

BUDDHAS AND SANTAS - Poem by Alfred Brendel

(Kyoto, in November)

I

In front of tourists
they contrive to keep still
practising thirty-three varieties of ecstasy
a thousand aspiring Buddhas
At night though
when no one's looking
they stretch their limbs
become restless
and pant
a latent powder-keg
ready
to burn to ashes
the wooden shrine

Perhaps they only bicker
because they all covet the front row
craving
to be scrutinized in close-up
But in all likelihood
they are just fed up
with standing there like ornamental plants
lined-up lookalikes
rivals in the hothouse of holiness
See
how they spy on each other
clandestinely counting up the golden arms
which
as befits a true Buddha
sprout from their bodies



II

In the recent football match
between the Buddhas and the Texan Santas
the Buddhas
truly excelled themselves
With undreamt-of sprightliness
they laid siege to their opponents' half
and scored
their corpulence notwithstanding
several magnificent goals
After their defeat
the red-capped benefactors of children
can be heard singing Jingle Bells
and observed
out of remorse
to be scaling the giant Christmas trees
with which the island
exasperates
its pedestrians
at every turn
in late autumn



III

Santas
have of late occupied the temples
Singing heartily
they swarm over the balustrades
wade through the waterlilies
or
suddenly silent
play hide-and-seek
in the rockery
Astonished monks
watch them vanish
behind the boulders
There they huddle
hiding their heads
little realizing
that the tails of their red and white cloaks
shoot into the air like arrows



IV

As I stepped on stage
the orchestra played a fanfare
Then the loudspeakers announced me to be
the one millionth Father Christmas
Roared on by the crowd
I was presented with a clone
Tearfully
we embraced
the clone and I
and sang Silent Night in unison
At home
he lives in the attic
When I travel
he deputizes for me
in the marital bed
Sometimes we talk to each other
in monologue
Just once
when a mouse ran up his leg
he turned nasty
Since then we compete in swearing
he in Hungarian
I in Croatian
though
of course
not in front of the children


Comments about BUDDHAS AND SANTAS by Alfred Brendel

There is no comment submitted by members..



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Thursday, October 26, 2017



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]