Extreme poetry: “In the valley of the Kingdom”.

Photography by Adam Donaldson Powell

“In the valley of the Kingdom” is part of my book entitled “Rapture: endings of space and time”.

IN THE VALLEY OF THE KINGDOM: a poetic fantasy.



In the great Valley of the Kingdom,
over-shadowed by Dorje Lakpa, Gauri Shankar,
Gyachungkang and Sagarmatha, the
rantings of a poet savant in the Old City
signal the commencement of Nawa Ratri.
Her sole audience consists of the monkeys and
the beggar children, for all citizens and pilgrims
are otherwise disposed; but all sense the onset
of imminent menstruation with innate fervour.
Scurrying about under the waxing moon,
last-minute shoppers scour marketplaces
and stalls in preparation for the coming rituals
of purification by blood and offerings in
supplication to the Goddess Durga, in all
her manifestations of life force and fertility.
And wafting from open windows is the
scent of Vijaya Dashami, flowers and
cooking vegetables, increasingly overcoming the
diesel fumes from the trafficked streets below.
Through an ajar door I glimpse a prayer in progress,
in salutation to the God in us all and I smile,
murmuring “Namaste” to the tilak-adorned
inhabitants chanting in submission to the Almighty.
My heart pains for the unfortunate beyond the
Kingdom who suffer loneliness, hunger,
war and terror without ultimate joy and release;
strangers to our ways although still brothers and
sisters in the Great Scheme.
They live in Iraq, Gaza and Darfur, and even in the
sprawling urban centres of the Americas and Asia.
In my mind’s eye I give an offering of Light
for these beloved neighbours and pray that also
their darkness and burdens find relief in the bosom
of Divine favour, while a gentle rain shower
soothes the heat from my own transgressions.
I awaken with a start .. in a pool of sweat and tears.
Gazing toward the window I can see the rising sun
juxtaposed against the crumbling rose-coloured
temple in the foreground; almost mocking the
distant luxury hotels, still caught in the shadows.
A cock is crowing – to the accompaniment of
the poet savant; both announcing the advent of
the Ghatasthapana.



“I invite the Lord into my heart .. I invite the Lord into my heart ..”
Mesmerized by the chanting and the intoxicating incense,
I fall into a trance and enter the Dashain Ghar.
As I approach the sacred kalash my heart quickens,
much like the rushing of life energy through the
veins of the surrounding mountains.
“I invite the Lord into my heart .. I invite the Lord into my heart ..”
The sprinkling of holy water upon the kalash and the surrounding
sands recalls the primordial Spring of my first awakening;
giving birth to divine offspring in the form of jamara.
“I invite the Lord into my heart .. I invite the Lord into my heart ..”
My pulse slowly returns to normalcy, and I smile knowing
that the Goddess Durga is pleased but not yet sated.
She hungers for the very essence of creation .. for the
blood of yesteryear’s abundance .. and that hunger seems
as insatiable as our requests are endless ..
No sacrifice is too great for the Divine Durga, and
the consequence of failure is unthinkable.
“I invite the Lord into my heart .. I invite the Lord into my heart ..”
Meanwhile, in another time zone in another part of the world
a child cries, a funeral takes place and a meal begins.
Across town, a marching band fades into silence and succumbs to
boisterous laughter from the last straggling nightclub guests
as they spill out into the streets.
The poet savant has finally fallen silent, but I still hear
her breathless incantations as loudly as the beating of
madal drums against the stillness of the early morning drowsiness;
goat-skin stretched tautly over wood, creating tension –
inviting rigid palms to strike and fingertips to caress.
In my spiritual drunkenness I envision one thousand and
one manifestations of the Goddess, arms flailing about in
an exotic dance – enticing and sensual, maternal
and protective; wildly fertile yet chaste.
A kaleidoscope of lotus flowers and orchids, unfolding, pulsing;
elephant gods dancing with water buffaloes in a building
frenzy of singing bowls, brass bells and cymbals.
“I invite the Lord into my heart .. I invite the Lord into my heart ..”
A television in the house next door brings news of
bombs falling in faraway lands, of famine and tsunamis,
volcanic eruptions, elections, stock markets and
football matches; and suddenly the Goddess snuffs out
the electricity and the whole world as I know it falls
captive to the silence signalling the start of the puja.
And as the first candle is lit I can feel the eyelids
of the savant closing heavily …. and I murmur:
“I invite the Lord into my heart .. May the puja begin………..”



The words of the poet savant are forever imprinted
upon my palms, forehead and heart – as clearly as the
unmistakable image of the great bodhisattva Kuan Yin.
The secret of the veil behind the veil is encoded
in the diamond; for while there are many ways to
enlightenment the highest wisdom is attained through
the Great Compassion, and self-realization is the only
homecoming recognized by the disciples of Vajrayana.
And thus, we step beyond the world outside of worlds
where karma is but a balancing act together with
punya-making, chance, luck and physical laws;
and approach the inner reaches of devotion with
complete individual and collective unity – for
all else belongs to the world of maya.
The vajracarya in me receives the Lord as my
guest and personal extension, and together we
dance through barriers known as illusion.
Our devoted compassion together with the refraction
of the light of the candles activates our heart, throat
and crown chakras – thus creating the perfect
Adamantine vehicle for illumination known as the
Great Source and Center, and all mantras coalesce
into one as flames and thunderbolts consume our
delusion and transform our essence:
And finally we give birth to the God within ..
without reservation; and in generous libation.



And on the seventh day, all subjects of the Valley and
beyond are ecstatic as the awaited procession arrives
from the royal house in Gorkha – bearing the jamara and
other provisions for the Tika.
So grand is their finery on the Day of the Fulpati;
and all hearts beat as one as the parade makes its way
to the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace.
In the midst of the celebrants and onlookers I see the
poet savant, smiling and keeping watch over the
splendid palanquin carrying the royal kalash, stalks of
banana, sugar cane and jamara.
His Majesty the King oversees the magnificent ceremonies
at Tundikhel, and the sounds of guns fill the Valley in
commemoration of the great thunderbolts which so resolutely
echoed over the mountains in the time of our forefathers.
As the last gunshots resound and the jubilant crowd breaks out
into a deafening cheer, the royal fulpati disappears inside
the Dashain ghar, and the feasting begins to the
accompaniment of a rock band.
And while the joyous crowds dance and make merry the
poet savant has already retired to her designated spot in the park
and prostrates to the Goddess offering incantations and
flowers – certain that the gods will be generous.



My inner meditative state is all but silent;
for every bit of my Self reverberates the
heartbeat of two six-pointed diamond stars
merging into the perfect Tantric Merkebah.
The emotional wetness of my transformation
process pulls me out to sea again and again ..
I both swell and am consumed by the riveting pulse:
tum ta-ta-ta-ta tuhhhhm…. tum ta-ta-ta-ta tuhhhhm….
tum ta-ta-ta-ta tuhhhhm…. tum ta-ta-ta-ta tuhhhhm….
thus transporting my body consciousness beyond hunger
to the world in between worlds, leaving me captive
to vision and hallucination; entreating me to choose
between Truth and illusion.


And across town, the poet savant acquiesces
to the rhythms of the Maha Asthami,
prostrating mechanically .. again and again and again ..
until she finally awakens in ecstasy to the sought after
reality of her dreams.
And as she robotically forsakes the Dashain ghar and
throws open a window, she discovers that all life has
indeed come to a standstill with the exception of
a few tourists snapping photographs.
But the poet savant remains lost in her own deep transformation.
The setting sun forewarns the approach of Kal Ratri,
and the darkness of the darkest night weighs
heavy and pungent with the odour of meat.

2WF (2)


Knee-deep in blood,
the poet savant wades
through the temple of Taleju –
marching in step
to the military band
and gun salutes
in honour of
the Goddess Durga
and Vishwa Karma,
God of Creativity.
The air is black
with the smell of
slaughtered buffaloes.
Protection is assured;
and all are blessed –
by the army
of the Divine.



The secret of the blessing lay in the
passing of divine compassion and
goodwill from generation to generation.
The embodiment of my love
is in the tika and the jamara.
And together we will wait for Laxmi.
This is my promise .. this is my prayer.
This is my gift to you.



Dizzily, I stumble out onto the pavement of
Freak Street, my mind still awhirl with the
images, tastes and sounds of the past fortnight.
In the maze of bustling pedestrians bumping into me,
and taxis, rickshaws and bicycles whizzing by,
I vaguely recognize the poet savant –
now in disguise as a common beggar.
All seems to have returned to normal in the Valley,
now that the blessings of Durga have been received;
so much so that I begin to wonder how much was real
and what was, in fact, fantasy – when suddenly I find myself
face-to-face with a child of some seven or eight years –
barefoot, in tattered clothes and with outstretched palms:
“Coins, cigarette, milk or chocolate???” he pleads.
As I place a few coins into his hands he smiles and says:
“Bless you kind Sir. May Good transcend Evil, and
Light lessen the Darkness you carry within you.”
And I smile to myself, certain that I am carrying
the treasures of Dasain deep inside me for at least
the next twelve moons while mumbling
“Om Mani Padme Hum .. Om Mani Padme Hum ….”



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