Going for Refuge – a poem by Mark McDonnell

Going for Refuge

Buddham saranam gacchami
singing from the singing bowl
sandalwood scented smoke 
loving-kindness Oh longing
for kindness and for escape 
from all that weighs down - 
from samsara - into this refuge
sangha set up it seems to outface 
my lonely unlovedness with
chanting brothers and sisters
I go for refuge untie my
family try to untie my other knots
with love before Teacher I bow 
my eyes lowered to his sandals
I offer him a wispy-white scarf
Insider now I call him Venerable Sir 
in Pali - it sounds like Daddy
Like a number of the younger men 
his cadre of committed votaries
I am invited to Teacher’s bed    
where I am very special 
till he shows his non-attachment
so that I may come at last to see
the tantric juxtaposition -
my young heat with his cold 
white body jolting me
out of my ego conditioning 

Mark McDonnell had a long career in industry, living and working in Barcelona, Miami and Cambridge, England. He then trained as a psychotherapist and began to devote more time to writing.  His work has been published in Rialto, Ink Sweat and Tears, Morphrog and The London Grip.


  1. Stephen Pratt says:

    Another sensual and well crafted poem from Mark McDonnell, following as it does the now shockingly familiar path of innocence to betrayal.


  2. Bill B-J says:

    I read a heart felt attempt at describing the indescribable 😍


    1. Mark McDonnell says:

      Thanks Bill – what a great description of what poetry should attempt to be!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. John McDonnell says:

      Good writing Mark! Trying to see round the bleakness of it.


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