The Sacred & The Secular

One of the first things that struck me about Vietnam when I first came here was the way the Vietnamese failed to draw a sharp line between the sacred and the secular. It is not that these categories do not exist in Vietnamese culture so much as they constantly interpenetrate each other. Little temples pop up in commercial districts, certain ancient trees are venerated with incenses and offerings of food & flowers while in front of the temple & beneath the tree commerce goes on at its usual frenetic pace.

Guardian Dog
Guardian Dog at temple on Lo Ren Street, Hanoi Vietnam

 

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Humanities at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press (2001). He lives with his wife Carole, two Jack Russell terriers, Jett & Penny, & a Chocolate Lab, Angel, on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.