That Old Asian Feeling in Central Iowa (a poem)
That Old Asian Feeling (A Poem)
Driving north toward Ames,
we happened to espy a Hindu
temple surrounded by rows
of corn on a hot September day.
A high white tower, laced with
dancing Hindu gods, rose up
into a bright blue cloudless sky.
Not wanting to miss this chance,
we pulled into a small parking
lot amid the sound of buzzing
cicadas and entered the temple,
first removing shoes and
then walking slowly into the
great prayer room where a
shirtless monk chanted and
splashed an elephant figurine
with purifying clear cold water.
His chants echoed back and forth
within the very ornate prayer hall,
and for a moment I thought I was
back in eastern Asia, kneeling
on a tatami mat floor and smelling
rising incense releasing all tension.
This Temple is just above Des Moines in the Des Moines River Valley off Route 17
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