that odd-size pipes
- and valvework -
a macaronic monument
to distil peace and elixir
and light for all to see by.
To my highest house at Lhasa
came their glassblowers
asking for holes in the walls
as a pipeway - a "tea" machine -
a flame-scattered winter-chaser -
and an escape in case the house sprang up too high
They carved plans in arabic on my walls
remembered them - destroyed them
then forgot them
so purely insight made the joints
where round ends met crooked ends
fumes escaped, pleasing some
but suffocating others:
those who thought it blasphemous
to make monumental plumbing from old scraps.
The master plumber said to me:
It is full of mistakes
It is ramshackle and will never last
But isnt it beautiful?
Leaks far above were dripping to the stone
breathing at us - bringing "tea"
cooling all the air
bringing a new calm way of thought:
Intangible monkeys running silently up ladders
where windmills spun
breathing life into the mechanism.
And the dripping echoed thru my eyes:
I lay back sipping with a new delight
absorbing in fantasies of height and mobility
the intricacy of the pipework above me
and the vats turning overhead
like liquid planets.
Monkeys danced all over
the walls flapped like oil rising
out of floor's creaking
where I sank into the bottom of stone which
clung as it sang the
song of Lhasa's (and our all)
polished tubes whose wild
restless monkeys chewed their
way from this glass.
Everybody disappeared, encapsulated
in bottles of sarcocolla terebine vitriol
and to me: (Please Light The Eternal Flame If It Goes Out)
page 520 With fortune's unexpectedness
across glass spirals
towards the eternal flame
admiring all I could see
from such a height