Thursday, June 14, 2018


The Saffron Road - A Journey with Buddha's Daughters by Christine Toomey from Christine Toomey on Vimeo.

What is the magic
that picks me up by the scruff of the neck
when I open the pages of a book?

Meet me in Kathmandu.
I will arrive leading an elephant
I have liberated from her chains.
Twenty-six years, she lay on the pavement,
without hope.
Her eyes now gleam:
with relief, with awakening trust, with
-amazingly – kindness.
Although I am human,
like the beings who chained her,
she is willing to believe that
I mean her no harm.
Elephants forgive.

On a rooftop, above a monastery,
at three a.m.,
nuns are practicing kung fu.
Even the birds are not awake.
It is four hours until morning tea.
Below, monks’ rumbling mantras
grumble sonorously.
All is peaceful, conscious, awakened.

I have arrived along the Saffron Road
in the pages of a book,
where I live with delight

as the slow hours pass.

At the monastery,
the youngest nun is six years old.
Her parents brought her to the nuns
to gain good karma,
and also because
there is no money to feed
so many children.

She is nervous, watching the other nuns
to see what she is supposed to be doing.
In her bed at night,
I wonder if she remembers home,
cries silent tears,
feels unmoored,

I turn the page,
and now, so soon, it will be eventide
in the purple mountains,
smoke rising from the chimneys
and the cooking fires,
as amber light falls on stone walls,
and pilgrims make their weary way

I must make my own way home.

Meet me in Kathmandu.
We will speak of the magic
of books that lift us up and away,
taking us on magic carpets
to the land of our dreams.

Today the power was out from the minute I got out of bed until almost suppertime. I recognized my dependence on technology. I began reading The Saffron Road, A Journey With Buddha’s Daughters, by Christine Toomey, who travelled the globe  to tell the stories of Buddhist nuns. The book took me right into its pages.

For Karin’s prompt at Real Toads: to use the phrase “What is the –" as a starting point for our poem. I dont know how to make the film go on top of the doggy faces. But it is a beautiful glimpse of a mysterious way of life.


  1. This poem evokes mixed feelings of pain, happiness, abandoning. love, sadness.....

  2. It is always a delight to live part of you life in books. There is always another one waiting for me to read and then my elder daughetr will say have you read this one? And I then I will do the same for her!

  3. Beautiful!💞 There is magic in the world of books as we are led into its pages, stories and characters which make us marvel upon the author's imagination 💞

  4. Such a cool idea of a poem and so very right--the magic of books is something that feeds us as well as carts us around, and definitely from misery or despondency to wonder and hope. Well done, and so original. Thanks, Sherry! k.

  5. I do love the magic of books... (as you well know) ... and this to travel to such a place, and be there in the presence of that little girl... so very good

  6. I was happy to see that you learned from your loss of technology. Books won't fail you, neither will a lead pencil if you have an old fashioned manual sharpener. I have a soft spot for elephants, they may forgive but they don't forget. HAve you read the book, "Water for Elphants?" Practically no bad treatment here, if I remember there had been some in the past. Besides circus elephants it has a caretaker's life story as well.

  7. Thank you for taking us along for the ride through the book you were reading. I am now going to bed with the vivid images of a kind free elephant and a little girl of 6 lying alone in her bed.

  8. I loved the story you tell in your poem!!!

  9. I love books and yes, they widen our mind and take us on many a journey. And then we can google and dive in even further.... :)


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!