The Garden Buddha

By Peter Pereira b. 1959 Peter Pereira
Gift of a friend, the stone Buddha sits zazen,   
prayer beads clutched in his chubby fingers.   
Through snow, icy rain, the riot of spring flowers,   
he gazes forward to the city in the distance—always   

the same bountiful smile upon his portly face.   
Why don’t I share his one-minded happiness?   
The pear blossom, the crimson-petaled magnolia,   
filling me instead with a mixture of nostalgia   

and yearning.  He’s laughing at me, isn’t he?   
The seasons wheeling despite my photographs   
and notes, my desire to make them pause.   
Is that the lesson?  That stasis, this holding on,   

is not life?  Now I’m smiling, too—the late cherry,   
its soft pink blossoms already beginning to scatter;   
the trillium, its three-petaled white flowers   
exquisitely tinged with purple as they fall.   

Poem copyright © 2007 by Peter Pereira. Reprinted from What’s Written on the Body by Peter Pereira, Copper Canyon Press, 2007, by permission of the author and publisher.

Source: What’s Written on the Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)

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Poet Peter Pereira b. 1959

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers, Religion, Buddhism, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Peter Pereira is a physician, a poet, and the founder of Floating Bridge Press. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and several anthologies, including Best American Poetry and To Come to Light: Perspectives on Chronic Illness in Modern Literature. He has received the “Discovery”/The Nation and Hayden Carruth prizes, and has been a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.
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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Religion, Buddhism, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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