Poem for Aung San Suu Kyi

“But coolest of all is the shade of the Buddha’s teachings.”
By Karen Ethelsdattar

Dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi

“The shade of a tree is cool indeed
The shade of parents is cooler
The shade of teachers is cooler still
The shade of the ruler is yet more cool
But coolest of all is the shade of the Buddha’s teachings.”

What can we say about faith & fearlessness?
About the muscle of the soul?
“It is not power that corrupts, but fear”
Aung San says for all time & all places,
sacrificing personal happiness & liberty
for the common good & happiness of her people.
Prevented from being with her dying husband & her sons
lest she be unable to return to her country, Burma,
she chose to stay with her people.

“When she walked with her associates along a street in a town,
in a speechmaking tour,
soldiers lined up in front of the group,
threatening to shoot if they did not halt.
Aung San Suu Kyi asked her supporters to step aside,
& she walked on.
At the last moment the major in charge
ordered the soldiers not to fire.
She explained later, ‘It seemed so much simpler
to provide them with a single target
than to bring everyone else in.'”

Which is more difficult,
her day by day & year by year detention
or to face alone a phalanx of riflemen?
None of it simple
or maybe all of it simple,
once she resolved to follow the path of her soul.


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