From The Commonplace Book

i.m. Urgyen Sangharakshita

After crisps and peanuts I walked a friend 
back to the waiting coach, the driver waiting, 
darkness closing up the trees and muddy verges.


The trees outside were hung with plastic bags 
where autumn leaves had been and as I cycled 
past McDonald’s, HSBC, St John 
on Bethnal Green, I remembered how you spoke 
at Conway Hall when I was twenty-five,
head-masterly and grave, and how you climbed 
the few steps from the lectern to our applause. 
I stop to get my hair cut. The barber, a twist  
of razor wire around his bicep, tells me
in broken English, he’s from Kurdistan 
but he doesn’t care about that country now
having lost his family there at seventeen.
He loves his life in London and hopes for snow.

MAITREYABANDHU has published three collections with Bloodaxe: The Crumb Road (2013), a PBS recommendation, Yarn (2015) and After Cézanne (2019). He lives and works at the London Buddhist Centre.