Art Inspires: Lisa Yankton on the transformative power of compassion

Lisa Yankton, a Minneapolis-based poet and member of the Spirit Lake Dakota, was inspired by Mia’s statue of Avalokiteshvara, or Guanyin in Chinese, a Buddhist deity associated with mercy and compassion. It is on display in the Buddhist sculpture court (gallery G200).

Avalokitesvara, “One Who Hears the Cries of the World”

Goddess of Mercy and Compassion
Ancestors, ancient of time
Temple, mansion, mountaintop, and palace
Movement of eyes, earlobes longevity
Saffron silk robes, flowing
Watching in the depths
Things unspoken
Hearts unknown
Cries you hear, exposure
Feeling needs
Sustenance of strength, Bodhi tree
Guide and nourish me,
Your pure oxygen, replenish my lungs
You breath out
I breath in
Your wisdom
Gesture enlightenment
You live
Transformational journey
Hero warrior
Wielder of weapons, chariot
Ride undefeated
Mustache goddess, unfathomable
Resplendent sacred lady, jewels of authority
Elaborate headdress, gilt crown
Royal ease, lotus poise, spinal power
Defeat foes
Inside me

Reign Forever

Lisa Yankton is a Saint Paul Almanac Community Editor, a member of the TGIFrybread Writers Group, and Minnesota Book Awards blogger. She is a Cracked Walnut Literary Festival and Haikus4Gambia Poet, and PBS Newshour Poet of the Week. While traveling in Japan with her family, Lisa studied Buddhism independently as a child when someone gave her a Buddhist text, and later studied at the Gyuto Wheel of Dharma. Her community activities include leading the Brooklyn Historical Society, coordinating the Dakota Conference, coordinating The Circle Newspaper Fundraiser, Simpson Housing Board Member, teaching math at MCTC, curator of the Dakota 38 Poetry Reading, serving on The Circle Newspaper Board, and as an actor in the film “The Coyote Way: Going Back Home.” She is a Fellow at The Creative Community Leadership Institute at Intermedia Arts. Lisa is a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota and the mother of two lovely daughters. At evenings, Lisa can be found gazing at members of the Milky Way. Instead of wishing on a star, she wishes she knew their names.