These poems are impressions gleaned from my experience of going on retreat and pilgrimage to Sikkim.
I cannot speak of the retreat as it is clear that each retreatant has their own individual retreat, their own journey and it is a deeply personal path. I can say however that, seven months on, I find that, far from fading, the resonance held from the experience continues to sustain me. Companions have shared that they too feel that this resonance seems to become increasingly internalised.
You may look at a photograph of Sikkim and you will see what a very lovely place it is, of mountains and rivers, forests and waterfalls, – but this will not give you the experience of ‘being there’.
Poets try to communicate a taste of the experience itself. We use words in an attempt to paint what we see and experience with our inner eye and what we feel in our heart. This is a process of remembering, reflecting and translating images and impressions into word-pictures, through the use of metaphors.
Of course, words are themselves only metaphors and so one cannot transmit the true reality of the experience, but as they are the tools we use in our attempts to communicate that which actually exists in a territory beyond words (I think of music here, the music of bird song and of rivers running!) I offer these poems – in the hope that they may provide at least a glimpse, a flavour, of that beautiful, deeply spiritual place, which I hold so deeply in my heart, – Sikkim.
I dedicate these meagre ramblings to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche,
in deep gratitude for his teachings and his blessings.
Bodhicharya Retreat Centre
31 Oct 2010
The Dakini poem was written on the roof of the Bodhicharya Retreat Centre, inspired by a chance sighting of a huge and brilliantly radiant shooting star which seemed not to burn out on entering the Earth’s atmosphere, but to land somewhere in the valley below.
The Sikkim poem was written on our way to Darjeeling after the retreat, when we walked, on a sparklingly beautiful morning, down the steep bankside, over a suspension footbridge thrown across the great river, to visit the Dakini’s cave.
Photos by Anne Pargiter and Peter Ford
About the Author: Marion describes herself as an ‘aspiring’ poet.