• 작가명
  • 벤 오크리
  • 작품명
  • The lady of the temple cleans the floor
Is it penance or an act
In a long journey
To enlightenment?
Sacrifice or a rite
Of purification?
Is it a symbolic act
Or a spiritual discipline?
Is it a lesson?
Is it maybe a koan
Of a noviciate?

These questions haunt me
In the temple
As I contemplate the woman
Who polishes
The wooden floor
Till it shines
Like the light
Of the Buddha.

Without pause,
And with thoroughness,
She polishes and cleans
Places already
Polished and clean,
With her cloth mop.

Wherever we tread on
She cleans.
Her act is perpetual.
The purpose is not
Merely to polish the floor,
Nor merely
To get rid of dirt.
Her purpose seems
More mysterious,
As though she wanted
To eliminate
Any speck of dust
From the serene presence
Of the golden Buddha.

The temple is a beautiful
Riot of colours.
Those greens, yellows,
And reds. Those dragons
That loom with tongues
Of fire from the high places.
And yet for all that colour,
Such calm.

The space is vaster
Than it seems:
Peace adds dimensions
To a room or temple.

We sit on prayer mats,
Surrounded by a thousand
Buddhas. A little Kama
For carrying women
In the past rests
In a corner.
The decorated drum
On a stand
Resonates
In silence.

And all around us
The woman polishes
Every inch of floor
Without emotion
As if cleansing
The universe
Of suffering
And sin.


Ben Okri

26-5-11

Seoul