(Poem #178) Water
If I were called in To construct a religion I should make use of water. Going to church Would entail a fording To dry, different clothes; My litany would employ Images of sousing, A furious devout drench, And I should raise in the east A glass of water Where any-angled light Would congregate endlessly.
Yesterday was O-bon, one of several Shinto festivals that grace the Japanese calendar. That, in itself, is not a particularly interesting fact, except insofar as it motivated my choice of today's poem. You see, one of the motifs of the O-bon celebration is the purity and power of water, and I got to thinking about how so many religions do, in fact, use water as part of their litany, as a 'furious devout drench'. From Holi in India to O-bon to the Christian baptism ceremony, water (with all its attendant symbolism) has a central role in many rituals and beliefs. Interesting and thought-provoking, but what does it have to do with poetry? Not much, I'm afraid :-) thomas. PS. In case you thought this was free verse, do note the rhythm of the stressesthe effect is to build up to a quiet yet definite conclusion with wonderfully restrained elegance.