One Buddha’s seven-headed cobra parasol

Also offers coils for his throne. The Princess and the Pea

Came to mind for somebody, one dry afternoon


When the long, refreshingly cool trunk of a python

Got wrapped around my shoulders as it tried to nose away,

As probably did the black snake of which I have no memory,


The snake my mum brought back, draped around me

When I was less than a year. Protestant faiths

Only have people to emulate while Shiva balances


On the Demon of Ignorance. Vishnu has his bull.

Out of Parvati, possibly sired by her lesser half, let’s say,

Ganesh’s super-stable howdah rides upon a rat.


Imagine plump Ganesha seated on his rat sideways

Like those nifty girls in tight skirts hitching a ride to Bangkok,

Except that he sits open wide, cementing together


The soles of his feet, fluid in his hips for all his weight.

Here though in the Land of Gold it’s rare to see him riding,

For Ganesh wears the Buddha’s cap, but do I want to direct my trek


To the rat temple that Andrea went to in Rajasthan?

The one you have to enter barefoot – as is the form for wats –

But rat-shit everywhere. What pests they are. The Western mind


Celebrates its terriers, and shudders at – for all that, the good rat

Can boast its swag-bag share of beady attributes.

Once, on the roof of one of Notre-Dame’s engargoyled towers,


There was a girl leant out, her pet rat peering from a shoulder.

In our village many rats in miniature are scattered near

Ganesh’s feet. From a poet’s point-of-view, you get a lot of rhymes.


About anthonyhowelljournal

Poet, essayist, dancer, performance artist....
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