Iowa Writes

Jetavana Stupa

We're mystified by your perfect form,
self-evident—yet your crown crumbles.
Like the tassel on a Muslim's fez,
a jaunty tree flaunts atop

your graceful hemisphere
cloaked now in grass and shrubs.
After the cloistered monks fled,
elephants roamed to your very spire.

We invade your sacredness
deciphering how stone and brick conspire
toward such perfection
still reverenced by soft-footed pilgrims
as a thousand years before.

I won't disturb the majestic robe
that secures your heart.
It's enough to stand before your massive presence;
breezes move the leaves in prayerful
memory of the saint who dwelt nearby.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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This poem originally appeared in Volume 5, Number 1 of 100 Words, a journal published by the University of Iowa's International Writing Program between 1993 and 1998. Each piece in the journal had to be 100 words or fewer, and each issue had a theme. This issue's theme was "On Memory."

This page was first displayed
on April 10, 2008

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