Poem: Above Saigon

By Phap Tue Above Sai Gon and the honk of horns the silent sky, where Two shark kites flutter from the rooftops tethered vying high above the city among the twitter of bats and one kite with three tails tugs and rises on waves of wind like a dancing lady amidst the streaks of rose-colored sky

mb35-Above1In the darkening light a boy on a nearby rooftop still gathers string to raise his eagle kite on currents of wind

I tell you, the peace of Saigon is on the rooftops where little fragrant gardens gather and eyes touch the peace of the sky again and kites, even at dusk sway above the darkening earth

These are messengers: and all children young or old meet in a silent and secret dance from rooftop to rooftop and silent height to silent height as swallows in eaves or doves at dusk

The stars appear slowly and dim one shark kite still sways above the darkness to meet the stars advancing toward the west and this last kite and all those who meet at night are the freedom of a people greater than any flag.

Thay Chan Phap Tue currently lives at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California.

An altar in the alley in Da Nang, Vietnam by Gary Richardson, Chan Dieu Hanh.

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