Sunday, July 29, 2007

Unconquered














Unconquered


Thailand has never been conquered in history. Its palaces and temples glow with undiminished glory. The beholder is left speechless. There is so much to see in Bangkok alone. Buddhist temples can be found in every part of the city, each one more splendid than the other. The Chao Phraya River navigates the city like a serpent. It is an earthy brown in color and carries hundreds of boats across itself everyday.

There is more than one palace in Bangkok. The most famous one is the Grand Palace. It has been around for more than 200 years and kings have continually added to it. The Thai are proud of their kings. On the birthday of the present king Bhumibol (and in fact on every Monday) people wear yellow T-shirts. I was surprised to find a sea of yellow T-shirts at lunchtime on a Monday. You will find portraits of the present king on every street of Bangkok. They really love their king.

I spent most of my time at the Grand Palace. It is incredibly beautiful, and it takes a long time to see all of it. Every bit of the palace is just exquisite (as you can see from the photos). I haven’t seen anything like this before. It also houses the temple of the emerald Buddha. One isn’t allowed to take photos of the emerald Buddha. It is placed at a height on a pedestal that seems to cascade down towards the viewer. It is not a big statue, yet one is attracted to it because it is made of emerald.

I visited many temples while I was in Bangkok. I remember the temple called Wat Pho. It houses a reclining Buddha that is 46m long and 15m high. Besides the statue of the Buddha, I loved the stone statues of warriors placed outside the temple. They look proud and unconquered.


Where he had left

A boat came back to the quay,
The sun calls it a day,
The rain clouds drift away,
Gently. Sagged down like udders,
By the weight of,
Their own self-consciousness.

The old tree that clutches,
At the red earth, sucks in,
Every leaf that goes astray.
The red earth blows,
From her pouting lips,
To smudge all footprints away.
Flotsam that drifts into,
The unforgiving waters,
Is returned with the lowering tide.
No one can get away.

A contoured, cartographic face,
Navigable features and eroded gaze,
He came back to where he had left.
As he spoke, words that left,
His mouth went back in again.
The same way they came.
Memories won’t matter to anyone else.
Thoughts came hurling back at him,
Like a stone thrown skyward with vengeance.
His hands felt empty, yet laden with weight.
His practiced feet walked unswerving,
Tired yet continuing,
As he emerged unscathed,
From a journey around the periphery.

10 comments:

Vasu said...

"The red earth blows,
From her pouting lips,
To smudge all footprints away"

Love these lines :-)

Chloe said...

i hadn't seen your beautiful face in so long! and all the photos are amazing. This yellow t-shirts thing is so interesting. I am going to ask people to do it on my birthday too. xx

Life is a matter of virtue said...

wow...the pics are amazing...wriju i sure wanna see this place myself now..its too good to be missed.

How do we know said...

2 posts in 3 days! What good omen led to this?! Thank God for whatever it was.

Wriju said...

Vasu :
Really !! I didn't think you would like those lines of all the lines. Its the one I thought least about ;)

Chloe:
Yes you should come over to my blog more often to see my beautiful face :D
Isn't the yellow T shirt idea so cool! You can put in some official sounding text like "To commemorate the grand celebration of the birthday of the one and only Chloe"

Life:
Hey thank you :)
Yes don't miss that place.. There is so much of Bangkok that I didn't write about. And there are other parts of Thailand that you should also visit when you go there.

How:
I had too much to drink of 'that' red wine :D

Priyankari said...

Great pics...U seem to be an ardent traveller...

N great lines...esp. these lines
"Thoughts came hurling back at him,
Like a stone thrown skyward with vengeance."

Really liked the depth of the entire poem...

The Egg said...

Hey nice to see you again. Enjoy your travel posts very much. I feel like packing up and roaming...Hope you're enjoying the summer.

Camphor said...

Your poetry is as moving as ever. Lucky you to see Thailand! I always remember associated it with the King and I...

What do you do about language? English?

Michelle Johnson said...

Stunning poem, vivid imagery. Wow! Your poem was really good.

Michelle Johnson

The Egg said...

Where are you these days?