The Price of Mustard in Nepal

The brick kiln chimney rises high,
high over the white range of peaks
that gather the orange dawn on its
tips and send the light down into
the valley letting the brick kiln workers
enter, small and hunched, wielding barrows,
scuttling up the face of this barren epic set,
where the Buddha or Ganesh or Shiva
is missing from the foreground.

The brick kiln chimney rises high,
high in the foreground,
smoking white clouds into the blue sky,
laughing in the face of the snow peaks
paling behind ash and the afternoon sun.
All around this brick-kiln world
the mountain face has been scraped
off leaving dark grey slopes, the brick-kiln
knifing an ochre chimney through it.

The brick kiln chimney rises high,
high above the mountains as behind them,
the city lies treeless and built, exhaling
hot air. There is a power in heat that can
bake wet earth into solid walls
that makes the stupid arrogant,
thinking paleontological ranges just putty,
snow only water, the snarling earth god on
the Thangka the tourists’ takeaway.

Where in the original scene the Buddha would have
sat, cross-legged, under a tree or Shiva danced
and the earth trembled awaiting destruction or recreation,
a small patch of mustard is in bloom;
yellow flowers, blinding.
Because, someone thought a handful of black grains
mattered little in a dry valley
where the brick kiln chimney rises high
and powerful, and scattered them.

Written by Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe on 22/10/13
© Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe

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sun, Light, earth, sky, dark, God, city


Entered: Earth

penny turner loved the idea of the ancient spirits of the place- Ganesh, Shiva, Buddha not being in the foreground any more 23/10/13
Bill Lythgoe Wonderful. The brick kiln chimney rises high but maybe, just maybe, people will notice the yellow flowers. 22/10/13
Aileen Shirra Powerful images-a moving poem 22/10/13
Anita Surname Well written. Like the line: "There is a power in heat that can bake wet earth into solid walls" - Great Poem. 22/10/13


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