After midnight when the still streets
drip from the trees audibly soft leaves
and I smile to hear sleepy voices
silenced by a closing window's sound
I take a match to an incense stick
and set bright a dark candle in this private shrine.
With six slow breaths the pillared flame
sets this brooding throne aglow
where pivoted upon some silent thought
the golden face spans inwardly the space
between the symbol and the seen.
Coming close with eyes as camera
I trace the perfections of a latent shot
moment immortalised perhaps or trapped
perceive half hidden under downcast lids
those open eyes fixed yet flexible
still point focussing quiet room
and grateful heart with the peculiar quality
of the street - space between windows
softly treading over couchant forms.
October 1969. Revised December 1992