The Aha Moment

On a street in Bombay or Madras, fakirs were hawking
their wares— cobras rising from baskets, Arjuna carvings
from Bhagavad Gita and Ganesha statues everywhere.

One yelled out "A shock for only a rupee" then dangled out
his eyeballs with muscles and all. Far away sat a silent sage
under a giant bay tree with a sign "It goes in... It goes out".

When I asked how much, he says "Just bring me a flower
and I'll teach you." I did so and he revealed his secret,
"It's the breath— Ah the inbreath, Ha the outbreath."

Suddenly it dawned upon me— the babe's first words
"Mama" & "Dada", those names of Avatars— Ammon-Ra,
Zarathustra, Rama, Buddha, Krishna, Mahavira, Mohammed.

No wonder they added the ha and ah to Abraham & Sarah,
and the ah sound in Allah, Brahma, karma, Tibetan tantra,
Torah, Zohar and Kabbalah, Ave Maria and Via Dolorosa.

So I should chant Ah & Ha as my mantra all day long.
"No", he smiled, "Just breathe in the Ah but don't breathe
out the Ha, letting out the air gently through your teeth.

Keep the Ha in your heart and you'll live a long life."
I thanked him with namaskar for his darshana, for this
Aha moment of discovery and a blissful taste of nirvana.

                                        — Peter Y. Chou
                                            Stanford, 5-6-2008

Robert Bly's Stanford Poetry Workshop assignment:
Write a Ramage poem focusing on one vowel.

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (5-6-2008)