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Carpe Diem #1253 : A Thousand Candles

Seeing the picture provided today as part of Carpe-Diem challenge, brought back a vivid memory of a little girl I had seen on the street, in Hoi An, Vietnam. Have posted a picture of her (at the end), though not as clear as the one provided in the challenge. Seeing the picture will help you understand why the words for the Haibun flowed so easily. A Haibun is a literary composition that combines prose and poetry. The range of haibun is broad and includes, but is not limited to, the following forms of prose :autobiography, biography, diary, essay, history, prose poem, short story and travel literature.

The picture provided below by Chèvrefeuille, is one from Tumblr’s “AvaZenGarden”

candles

Thousand candles – Photographer unknown

As we walked around the streets of Hoi An, passing Chinese styled pagodas, streets covered with colorful lanterns, French styled coffee shops ,yellow painted walls, shops where women bent over needles stitching the most intricate wedding gowns, it seemed so far away from the city life we knew and yet it was real, as real as us. As beautiful as the colorful street was or the music of the flute that came from one of the concerts on the streets filled the air, we had no idea how the place would transform when dusk set it. We turned around as it started getting dark to head back to our vehicle after a day’s trip to Hoi An and lo and behold!, we witnessed an ethereal transformation of the streets that we had just meandered.

A thousand lights shone,

glowing stars lighting the dark night,

On the streets, in the waters…

As we stood mesmerized by the beauty of it all, absorbing the glow of every candle lit; in awe of the beauty of thousands of candles lit, we saw dozens of road-side hawkers selling flower lanterns to passers-by who bought them, made a wish for health, for love, for fortune and set them free in the bobbing waters.

Then there in their midst,

I saw a child, eyes wide,

Crouching, she looked up…

Her face lit, by the candles that she had lighted and awaited to sell to romantics who believed in luck or to enthralled tourists who wished to leave no stone unturned in the name of experience or to kind strangers who wished to bring a smile to a child in a distant land

A warm, mellow glow,

Pale skin, softly radiant,

Vision Divine…

I tried to freeze the sight that lay before me – so pure, so innocent; a face that brightly cut through the darkness like a thousand candles, but my ordinary camera could not capture that which to my eyes was revealed. Even as I write these words, I close my eyes to relive that fleeting moment and my eyes thankfully do not desert me.

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