earthquake

Ontul Rinpoche’s answer
had made me laugh
“what is your essential practice?”
“I eat, I sleep, hahaha!”
we had talked long
and parted as friends
outside his room
I chatted to his wife
but was distracted
a repetitive clanking
on the tin roof above
Lake Rewalsar
the Tibetans call it Tsopema
three stories
lots of monkeys about
but this was rhythmic
and just as I was
beginning to wonder
about drumming macaques
the Rinpoche ran past us
“EARTHQUAKE! EARTHQUAKE!”
and we fled after him
leaping down the stairs
we stood in a garden
trees swayed drunkenly
no wind was blowing
all the buildings
huffed out dust
grey brown gobbets
the ground heaved
sickly
the town let out a groaning
a strange lament
it didn’t last long
the damage was minor
the epicentre
was the other side
of the Himalayas
the part that sticks most
in the memory
is counting my mala
om mani padme hum
standing with the holy man
and loving the camaraderie
of accepting
our imminent
demise

"Tsopema" what3words
wikipedia