Buddha’s Smile

by Peg Bresnahan

A mind set free
in back of that calm face
on carvings, icons, village scenes,
a close-lipped smile displayed.

In back of that calm face,
do you harbor any teeth?
At home, a close-lipped smile displayed
means something secretive.

If you harbor any teeth
behind that detached smile,
it could mean something secretive
but secret’s not your style.

Behind that detached smile
of granite, gold or jade,
secrets aren’t your style
no matter how you’re made.

Granite, gold or jade,
serene in meditation,
no matter how you’re made,
you are deep in contemplation.

Serene in meditation
everywhere I turn,
you are deep in contemplation,
enlightened is the word.

Everywhere I turn
on carvings, icons, village scenes,
enlightened is the word—
a mind set free.

Peg Bresnahan lives in Cedar Mountain, North Carolina. She has self-published one book of poetry, Chasing Light. Recent poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, The South Carolina Review, Main Street Rag, MOTIF volume 2: Come What May, and Limestone 2010: Art. Prose. Poetry.

About Buddha’s Smile–“Buddha’s Smile” was written in response to an assignment to compose a poem in a style we normally wouldn’t write. My husband and I had just returned from Cambodia so the images of Buddha were fresh in my mind. Since I write free verse, I decided form would be a challenge. It was. Many trees were sacrificed. Much hair was torn.