The calls of birds and the chirring of insects
fill the trees growing in the temple grounds.
Over the lichened stones of the abandoned courtyard
there is an army hurrying.
They are carrying their young
as a wave of them moves rapidly
across the roots flowing down the old stone walls,
rippling and twisting into the dirt.
The carved dancers and Buddhas
are of no interest to the scurrying throng,
but a dead millipede diverts platoons
who pull on each other to drag it with them.
The ants are looking for a new bivouac;
carrying their queen they pass
beneath rows of praying figures in lotus position
whose eroded sandstone features
were old even centuries ago.
The indifferent ants ignore this homage,
the work of creatures who did not exist
when the ants were old, many millennia ago.
© 2008 Michael Yanega
31 October 2008