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Songs of the Banyan

Chamnongsri Rutnin Hanchanlash

Photo: Art Lashbrook


With the dignified humility

of a master at tea ceremony

the boughs bend in respect

to Silence, who came as

the Banyan’s honored guest.



The Banyan bestows shade to seekers of coolness.

Not in gratitude to the sun, the rain or to the soil's bounty

but simply as a part of being.



Have you ever watched a wind-dance

starring sun-flecks pirouetting through

the leaves of an old Banyan?

Well, the choreography is by

a maestro named Transience.



The deep-rooted Banyan thanks the storms

for its strength and serenity

The gentle Lotus thanks the mud

for its fragrance and purity

The sage is grateful to misfortunes

for his wisdom and humility



I do marvel at the vitality

and resilience of the wind-lashed Banyans

That lyrical touch of greenness slows the rushing wind

Who knows, their strength may lie in the ancestral line

that rolls further back in time

than the roots of humanity



When the Banyan and sleep conferred,

they agreed

that it is all the same whether the night

be filled with dreams or be dreamless.

that is –

if the handmaidens who smoothed the beds

were the gentle twins named

Peace and Love.



Small, green and impermanent

The Banyan leaves

feed and are fed by the boughs and the roots

that are nourished by a soil enriched with small, brown,

impermanent leaves


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