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 Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.