Tin Hau Temple (Fanling 粉嶺)

Lung Yeuk Tau Tin Hau Temple

香港龍躍頭天后宮 Lung Yeuk Tau Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong

Incense lit in honour of the Earth God
rings round me. Here I sit —
smoked — on a crude stone bench,
catching my breath, as awareness spins
through simple cycles
of scent-rest-scent-rest-rock.
In the sky-painted forecourt,
a humble tap drips deep in the hush,
and a fern, deeper,
squarely on one wall,
grows in recognition of the part
chance and disorderly vegetable life
play in this world.
Two pygmy demons, wild
dogs’ eyes goggling,
brandish serrated swords
as protectors of the Sea Goddess —
a stern empress — serene, unworldly
in her sombre cave. Electric
red-flame candles
and a neat building of oranges
glow from the altar
through gloom, but still
this faceless atmosphere puzzles prayer:
I have nothing of my own
worth adding. What can I do
but align the straying needle
of my noise patiently
to the temple’s faint magnetism
and hope it strikes root in dark’s —
deeper — indirection?

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