By Michael Romary
Kafka and The Buddha Meet
So after Buddha read Kafka’s
“The Silence of the Sirens”
both sitting across from each other,
said nothing for a long, long time.
In the story, the Sirens
had not sung to Ulysses,
though in their guile,
pretended to sing.
And Ulysses falling for it, thought
that he indeed had fooled them
by binding himself with chains
and filling his ears with wax.
Then, Buddha started laughing.
And lo, Kafka began laughing,
both so much that even the Sirens,
said to be absent of consciousness,
might have been heard to laugh as well.
Sitting here now with you
on our porch deck,
in the early autumn afternoon sun,
one of your four-day weekends,
I know that I will pre-decease you,
years from now, as sure as any lab report
or as pen and paper are one.
You will return to this space,
again and again,
thinking of me, maybe with meal
or sitting with wine,
watching a maverick waxwing, goldfinch
or bunting at the feeder
or the nearby sunflowers
we always plant.
Remember then the lines I quote to you,
telling you that I have carried them
in my wallet, the second half
of my life of thought as I know it to be,
the lines another wrote:
Our life is closed, our life begins,
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last…
She swiftly courses from the shore,
Joy, shipmate, joy.
About the Author
Michael Romary, was a professional university librarian, at Indiana University, The Ohio State University and the University of Maryland. He did graduate work in English in Minnesota. He was selected to be a mentee in the AWP program. He has attended Bread Loaf, and the Kenyon Review Writers’ workshop with David Baker. His poems have appeared in The Laurel Review, Atlanta Review, The Main Street Rag, Spillway and other publications.