Wednesday, September 1, 2021




The Heart Of The World


Nepalese men and women work in the fields.


They use the traditional bullocks and buffaloes.

They dig the fields manually.


The women work beside the men,


With babies strapped to their backs.


Long wooden hoes are being used


to dig and break the soil,


whole families pitching in to do the job.



And far out in the distance,


the all-seeing-eyes


of the compassionate Swayambhu


observes the land from the towers


on which his eyes are painted.



As you start for the temple,


you're first greeted by two Tibetan lions set in stone,


Amid wonderful wooded surroundings.


Behind the lions you see three colossal statues


Of the Buddha, serene and daubed


In flaming red and gold.



All around you there are naked trees


In poses of suspended animation.


The ground crackles as you step


On the fallen brown and russet leaves.



Shrill bird cries ring through the air.


It is roosting time, you say to yourself.


The trees are silhouetted


Against the evening sky


And the shadows are lengthening.


Your eyes discern the prayers


Carved in the granite slabs


As you ascend the seemingly endless stairs.



A bearded tourist and a bevy of girls giggle nearby,


Talking in French and eating peanuts.


They pass some peanuts


To the swarm of monkeys


who are a regular feature of Swayambhu.


The Rhesus monkeys are creeping,


Jumping, fooling and fighting with each other.


"How happy they are", remarks a tourist with a laugh,


As the monkeys climb the spire of the stupa.


The overhanging eaves of the stupa,


Gilded with gold, are loosely chained together.


The wind blowing from across the silvery Himalayas


Makes them rustle.



You are dumbfounded by the majestic temple.


Three lamas go by:


"Om mane padme hum" stirs in the air.


You take a cue from them


And go about spinning the 211 copper prayer wheels


that girdle the dome.


Then you peer at the all-seeing-eyes


Painted on the four sides of the stupa


And look where they look:


At the myriad pale yellow, white, blue


And crimson lights of the Kathmandu Valley below.



You feel that you have indeed reached the top of the world.


A chilly, and icy gust of wind blows your hair.


The clatter of the prayer-wheels is constant.


The stony stairs are set at an extremely steep angle


But there are railings to help you up or down.


A Tibetan, probably a Khampa from Eastern Tibet,


Mumbles his prayers as he comes


Down from the temple.


He is wrapped in heavy mauve woolens.


A shaggy Tibetan Apso, a tiny dog, like a Pekingese,


With bells round his collar jingles past.



You go on.


A few paces up, a monkey stealthily passes by


As though he were a big-game hunter.


You are again confronted by meditating Buddhas:


The Dhyanibuddha Akshobya


Who rides an elephant and a lion,


Ratnasambhava who rides a horse,


Amitabha who rides the peacock


And Amoghasiddhi who rides the heavenly bird Garuda.



The going is hard but the ascent is redeemed


Because of the breathtaking beauty of the place.


More Rhesus monkeys dart around you.


One of them takes a joy ride along the railings


Like a kid, skids off and vanishes.



You can't help laughing.


You abruptly come across two statues


Of horses: short and stubby.


You're weary but you press on


And come across small elephant statues,


With live monkeys playing pranks on their backs.


The monkeys give you a quizzical stare.


These are all part of the Buddhist pantheon.



Now you begin to understand


Why the tourists call this temple complex


Also "the monkey temple".


The monkeys are protected by law (as is the yeti)


And have freedom there since over 2000 years.


They live on the offerings


Brought by the Hindus and Buddhists,


And peanuts and popcorn offered by the tourists.



Your climb is over.


The sky is dark, blue,


And is fast changing into Prussian blue.


Venus has already appeared,


But you have eyes only for the gigantic white dome,


The stupa of the Self-Existent One.


The stupa is of great sanctity


For all Hindus and Buddhists.


It is hemispherical


And you are struck by its enormous size.


The earliest inscription on Swayambhunath


Dates back to the year 1129,


But the stupa is thought to be much older.



You make your way to an elderly Buddhist monk


And he tells you a legend about Swayambhu...


"Once upon a time the Nepal Valley was a great lake.


It was on this spot, where you now stand


That a lotus bloomed and became the heart of the world."




Feuertanz In Autumn


A rhapsody of yellow, orange


Scarlet hues suggest peace,


Yet when the wind blows over the leaves,


It becomes a Feuertanz


In dynamic rouge, yellow, brown:


Glowing and strewn in the air,


And you long for the warmth of your cosy room.



The landscape in ochre, sand and acryls and aquarelle,


Created by Mother Nature,


Throws a mysterious veil


In the early morning.


A delight for the eyes


Of the passing observer and connoisseur:


Of Nature landscapes in the Schwarzwald.


Nature’s artistry: secretive and mysterious.



Outside the sun is at ten O’ clock,


Throwing your shadows on the Alpine meadows,


Akin to the highly expressive figures


Of Alberto Giacometti.


There’s arresting artistry in the works


Of Mother Nature like writings,


Revealed subtly beneath colours.


Smells, taste and crushed leaves


Making you curious,


Beckoning you


To find the meanings


Behind the sensory symbols.



A dialogue takes place


Between the observer


And Nature,


Where you experience kinetic energy


As well as the peace and tranquility.


It’s autumn in Freiburg,


The Black Forest is laden


With brown, green, yellow red leaves


Tossed carelessly


By the wind.



In Herbst you hear


The expressive rustling movement


Of the leaves.


In the distance looms Kaiserstuhl


With its vineyards,


The blue Vosges peaks of France,


Beyond the Rhine.



In Kappel you discern the whirling of the leaves,


Caused by the Höllentäler,


The wind from the Vale of Hell.


A storm is swirling colours:


Pink and red surrounded by white,


Like snow in a whiteout,


The pitter and patter of rain,


Amidst the din of the thunder


Followed by flashes of lightning


Over the Schwarzwald hills.



Nature undergoes a series of mutations,


Where metamorphosis of shapes and forms


And cell migration takes place.


The seasonal changes evoke migrations


Among birds and humans,


In the quest for better pastures, warmth


And a safe haven to roost.



When the travel is over it’s time


For reflections of their inner lives.


The themes are innumerable,


In the quest from the micro


To the macro cosmos.





Grow With Love


Love yourself

Accept yourself,

For self-love and self-respect

Are the basis of joy, emotion

And spiritual well being.


Watch your feelings,

Study your thoughts

And your beliefs,

For your existence

Is unique and beautiful.


You came to the world alone

And you go back alone.

But while you breathe

You are near

To your fellow human beings,

Families, friends and strangers

As long as you are receptive.


Open yourself to lust and joy,

To the wonders of daily life and Nature.

Don’t close your door to love.

If you remain superficial,

You’ll never reach its depth.


Love is more than a feeling.

Love is also passion and devotion.


Grow with love and tenderness.





Chirps In My Garden




To lie in bed


And listen to the birds sing.


I peer at the pine trees above,


Heavily laden with fluffy snow,


Like sentinels of the Black Forest.




I espy something moving:


Three deer with moist black noses,


Sniffing the Kappler air,


Strut among the low bushes


In all their elegance,


Only to vanish silently,


Into the recesses of the Foret Noir.




I hear the robin,




With its clear, loud, pearly tone,


As it greets the day.


Just before sunrise the black bird,




Which flies high on the tree tops,


Delivers its early arias.


The great titmouse stretches its wings


And starts to sing.




The brown sparrows turn up


With their repertoire,


Rap in the garden,


Twitter and chirp aloud.


All this noise makes the bullfinch alert,


For it also wants to be heard.


It starts its high pitched melody


With gusto in the early hours.




The starling clears its throat:


What comes is whistles,


Mingled with smacking sounds.


The woodpecker,




Isn’t an early bird,


Starts its day late.


Pecks with its beak,


At a hurried tempo.




If that doesn’t get you out of your bed,


I’m sure you’re on holiday,


Or thank God it’s Sunday.


Other feathered friends


Who frequent our Black Forest house,


Are the green finch, the jay,


Goldfinch which we call ‘Stieglitz,’


Larks, thrush and the oriole,


The Bird of the Year,


On rare occasions.






English, German, Latin names


Robin (Rotkehlchen): Erithacus rubecula


Black bird (Amsel): Turdus merula


Titmouse (Kohlmeise): Parus major


Bullfinch (Rotfinke):


Greenfinch (jay): Chloris chloris


Starling: Sturnus vulgaris


Woodpecker (Specht):


Stieglitz: Carduelis carduelis


Oriole: Oriolus oriolus



No comments :

Post a Comment