It came from a run-down garden shop
selling hundreds of statues
in a vacant field
beside a ramshackle frame house
now long since razed to make room
for upscale condominiums.
It was humbly crafted of poured concrete,
covered with a slip of pale gray plaster
to resemble a miniature version
of the great Buddha at Kamakura:
legs folded, eyes closed, its hands
a mudra of peaceful meditation.
We placed it at our front doorway
under a potted camellia
that soon passed away
but the Buddha endured,
seated atop the hidden house key
secured for our children.
Over the years we have shaded him with
flowering maple, lobelia, bonsai pine,
placed a series of offerings in his quiet cupped hands--
a smooth black river pebble from Mexico,
a shard of obsidian from Yosemite,
a crystal from our new age daughter,
a bleached coral from the Great Barrier reef,
in June a single perfect crimson rose,
in fall a tiny orange gourd,
at Christmas a sprig of holly.
Now forty years later he has come with us
to our retirement home where
he resides in the front garden
under a rock wall studded with
black beach pebbles he once held,
surrounded by local grasses and manzanitas.
His plaster coat has long since
washed away by wind and rain.
He now rests,
his cupped hands empty,
open to receive.
When I have passed to stardust, air, and earth,
he will remain, gradually losing
his own distinctive form,
becoming once again pure mass,
so passersby will not even see
that he abides
A true Buddha, at peace.
Lynn Sargent De Jonghe, 2019, 2021