The Yellow Buddha

the hammer

as you draw near

each leaf scale on the trunk

becomes an ear


the anvil

Buddha is always listening

even from the wooden floor he is

serene and yellow


the stirrup

someone held buttercup petals

so long under Buddha’s chin

he is permanently butter-coloured


all the little bones

Buddha has fallen to earth

but is still smiling

Buddha’s ear is forever to the ground


Janis Freegard


I have chosen this poem for Paula’s birthday because I love Paula’s “Chrome” book which has a whole yellow section in it. I feel very grateful to Paula for all the work she does for New Zealand poetry, with her anthologies (I love “99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry”), her reviews, her work with children, and, of course, her own work.


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