Buddha Smile, Siam – a poem by Victoria Crawford

Buddha Smile, Siam

A joy of jasmine day
with white petal scent in
Buddha’s topknot above his
bronze face
on a Chiang Mai wall
courtesy of Roone,
Siam housekeeper, lady of the flowers,
Buddha smile ineffable, slight.

That smile is metal molded
minimal upturn,
junk shop find in Kobe
near railroad train clatter,
the long earlobes,
inscrutable smile proclaim
his enlightenment,
the sharp crescent brows
his Asian home.

No name for that smile
only questions,
in a room moon-shadowed.
Does a tree falling in a forest
make a sound if no one
is there?

Hung on foreign walls,
often dusty, often ignored,
he seems at home
in Thailand, maybe the happiest
he’s ever been. It’s probably
Roone’s flowers; jasmine aroma
a smile.
Still, I look at that smile,
and always,
it is a koan to me.


American poet Victoria Crawford has lived in various Asian countries and now calls Thailand home. Her poems have appeared in Samsara, Time of Singing, Parousia, Braided Way, Heart of Flesh, and other journals.

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