“Buddha’s Villanelle” by Dana Stamps II

Dana Stamps II


for Ryan

Seek wisdom, and end up dead.
Spirituality will only depress.
This is not what the Buddha said.

Born a prince, a man well-bred,
lives large without distress,
says he will never end up dead,

and clothes sown with gold thread
is reason to boast of success. 
This is not what the Buddha said.

Sid was fat, obviously well-fed.
The example? Eat to excess.
If too thin, you will end up dead.

To be happy, get a woman in bed,
strip off her skimpy silk dress.
This is not what the Buddha said.

Life is suffering, filled with dread.
Learn not to cling, avoid duress.
Even awakened, you end up dead.
This is what the Buddha said.

from Rattle #56, Summer 2017
Tribute to Poets with Mental Illness


Dana Stamps II: “Hearing voices is frightening, and I find it a challenge to cope every day. Fortunately, I do not hear them all the time. Writing poetry has given me self-esteem, and proves to me, and I hope everyone else, that mental illness does not equal a destroyed life. I do not advertise my condition to editors when I submit poems to their journals, because I want to be considered based on the merit of my poems. This submission to Rattle is an exception, and I think many of my readers will be surprised to find I have bipolar disorder. I hope this discloser will help reduce the stigma of mental illness.”

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