The Circle (1979-2009)

It starts with a funny story –
we ate at the same Wednesday night veggie dinner
at the same Hare Krishna ashram in Pacific Beach,
I in 1979 and my old friend in ’81.

The trick was to sidle in at 6:25, join hands
in the circle and hum along for a few minutes
until the free food was served, brown rice
and flat breads and curried egg plant.

Thirty years later, I am looking for a group
where I can learn to meditate, to tidy up
the cluttered corners of this anxious mind,
this year when too many fathers have died

Accidentally, by falling, by drowning, and now
by crashing on an icy road, leaving too many
children behind. When you hear the news,
first comes the nausea, then heavy numbness.

This is a ritual I do not wish to practice,
the cups of black coffee, the awkward hugs,
no appetite for brownies or carrot sticks and dip.
We hum along, but would not choose this meal

That is served, its bitter taste too hard to swallow.
If I were back there now, in my carefree youth,
I would come early, help set the tables, join hands
and form the circle, and sing Hare Krishna,

Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,
Take away my sorrows, pains and failings,
O Highest Consciousness, give me joy and bliss.

About Ray Sharp

Poet, athlete, retired public health planner
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