The Temple of Confucius, Hoi An, Viet Nam


I came upon the Temple of Confucius while walking along an unexplored road after finishing my morning tea. The temple (actually a compound) lay recessed back from the street, and I crossed over a lotus pond to enter. 

Although there was activity on the street all about me, the compound was quiet and seemingly deserted. Peace abounded. The temple sat lower than the road, and as I walked, I could see where much of the wooden walls were leached from past floods.  The waterline testified to the compound’s steadfastness. 

Farther back near a corner was a birdbath full of rainwater and algae. Peering inside I was reminded of Paul Caponigro’s photograph of the apple: the whole universe lay right before me. 

As I turned, I came across two clusters of wiry palms, their stalks reaching from the earth like tentacles,  and made this image.