9 to 5 Poetry Project, Poem 18: Green Buddha Smiles

It’s Tuesday! Which is kind of like my Thursday, since tomorrow is the last day I work before I get two days off. Consequently, I’m feeling fairly unmotivated today and ready for my “weekend,” which will involve going to see a play and loads of packing.

Anyway, less rambling, more poetry, eh?

Green Buddha Smiles

“One month to go,” I whisper,
Reminding my reflection to smile,
As I pull the lanyard over my head
For what must be beyond the 1000th time.

As I trail toward the back room,
A glint of green catches my eye—
The exact color of the IKEA couch
That will soon furnish my apartment.

The smiling face comes into focus,
Arms spread wide above jubilant eyes
And a rotund, exposed belly,
Which speaks not of middle ways, but joy.

Religion class memories reassert;
I sit barefoot in a small, cold room.
As John the Buddhist explains his faith,
What he calls a mind science.

The other sangha members pair Buddha
And Jesus with ease. I wonder if two men
Whose philosophies live on in separate ways
Would willingly cohabitate this way.

Coming out of my reverie, I recall,
This is not the Buddha, but a Buddha figure.
Meant to symbolize some attribute,
Some aspect of the middle way.

Looking into that green, smiling face,
I see exuberance, joy.
I see a cheerful, silent companion
For the lonely days to come.

$19.99 seems a small price to pay.


Note: Today I bought a green Buddha figure, and this is a poem about him and about the limited knowledge of Buddhism that I happen to have picked up in college. For clarity for non-Buddhist folk, the middle way is one term used to describe the lifestyle that was recommended by the Buddha in order to achieve enlightenment. Beyond that, I won’t lecture you–the internet is at your fingertips if you want to educate yourself.


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