Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Poem for Lisa: Meditation Garden, Encinitas

Back in July of 2015, my poet friend Lisa Rizzo of Poet Teacher Seeks World challenged me to write a poem for a resting place. We've both had so much on our minds, but I'm grateful to have come across this draft. I'm eager to read your poem, Lisa, so I'm going to stop tinkering and post this so I can read yours.

One of my favorite places to visit is the Meditation Garden at the Self-Realization Fellowship in the city of Encinitas (where Paramahansa Yogananda wrote his "Autobiography of a Yogi"). I look forward to your poem, Lisa...your turn...

Meditation Garden, Encinitas

It’s everyting you’d expect: domed helm
of prayers palpable, sound of trickling water,
weed-free beds, stone benches where concentric

mineral rings circle the one stilled
thought, ribbed trunks of trees with white
limbs amid which the crows of dissent settle,

resettle, rise. In lower pond, three carp vie:
the first corn-blonde, sun on chainmail glinting,
the second orange and grail-grey,

the third a pale pewter, snail horns of whiskers
and slick oval mouth breaking surface
below the “Do Not Feed” sign. Two girls

in braids and capes and hiker's Birkenstocks
own the overlook, their words a fence
we skirt long enough to view the Lemurian

jade of ocean’s swell. In “the garden
of souls”—we named it last visit—bloom
the succulents so varied in radial palette

from violet black square petals to ripe lime
moons to melon orange stars to spears
forest green to one ample-thighed zebra

without kin like the officer of the law we
encounter around the bend. What sort of
crime does one commit in such a garden?

She leans forward, “You’ve a leaf,” plucks
it deftly from my hair, then puts her hands
behind her back, resumes watch. We pass

slightly slowed to prove our deference,
hands in plain view: no carp, no succulents,
no fallen leaf, just the master’s peace we keep.

Related  Links:

Respective poems from the first challenge: Write a poem using the letter Z:

Firenze poem, For Tania from Italy by Lisa Rizzo

21 Zs for Lisa: Omen Hunting at Yo El Rey Roasting by Tania Pryputniewicz

Self-Realization Koi is an earlier post about a trip to the Meditation Garden with a dear friend. It is our preferred tiny pilgrimage of choice when we sneak away, drive that hour up the coast, and sit in that sweet garden.

Please feel free to add your own "resting place poem" in comments if you wish!