Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 1, March 2010

Bob Lucky
Hangzhou, China


The Youth of Today: A Report from Bhaktapur, Nepal

We stroll uphill from Hanuman ghat and its vast collection of Shiva lingams, one of which is proclaimed the largest in the world. I find it depressing that even in the realm of symbolism, apparently, size matters, though once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all in the spiritual sense.

across the lane
leading down to a temple
a row of bricks
serves as a net in a game
of street ping pong

We stand in awe before the Dattatraya Temple. A ten-year old boy comes up to me and asks where I’m from. Canada, I lie, an old American traveler’s habit. I usually say Iceland, but the beauty of a lie is that you can change it without many qualms. “The capital of Canada,” he says, “is Ottawa.” I tell him I’m impressed and he asks for a rupee to continue his education.

in Suryamadhi
an old woman sits topless
in the morning sun
a toddler climbs in her lap
and swats at her sagging breasts

In Durbar Square another young boy approaches my wife and asks, “Where are you from?”

“China,” she says, twisting the truth.

“I don’t believe you,” he says, “but the capital of China is Beijing.”




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