Stories that Uplift the Spirit and Broaden the Mind

King of the Free

Today is UNESCO's World Poetry Day. As a citizen of the world, I thought I'd share an inspiration I had while visiting Thailand.

Fence top bunting, black and white
Reaches every city and village and farm
Common threads in a karmic loom
Weaving the Thai people
Into a single, glorious fabric
That sings a song of great loss
And tells a story of greater love
A bittersweet celebration that engulfs
Locals and tourists alike

Bonds of respect begin to form
For the Late King who ruled without ruling
Seven decades of ideas and passion and action
Reveal a firm but gentle hand
That raised a tropical nation from infancy
Only his Smile remains, along with music
And lens-filtered images of his homeland
The same land that now pays tribute
With loving images of him

Spirit house, ancestor house, any house
Would be happy to welcome his return
But goodness and greatness and kindness
Shown in this life have surely
Carried him to new quests beyond
His people know they can find him
In their hearts and thoughts and prayers
And in four thousand royal projects
He dreamed for this Land of the Free

Most Thai people have never known
A time without him as father
To guide and lead and inspire
Orphans now, they must continue on the path
Alone or with each other
Some day through service and love
They hope to see him once again
In the place where all journeys end –


Author’s Note: I wrote this in 2017 while vacationing in Thailand a few months after their longtime king died. Rama IX, or King Bhumibol the Great, had reigned for more than 70 years with grace and vision. Tributes by Thai people everywhere showed their love for him. The country mourned for a year.

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