Buddha at Kamakura

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

1892

“And there is a Japanese idol at Kamakura”

O ye who tread the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,
Be gentle when "the heathen" pray
  To Buddha at Kamakura!

To him the Way, the Law, apart,
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda's Lord, the Bodhisat,
  The Buddha of Kamakura.

For though he neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank your Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
  His children at Kamakura,

Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
  That worship at Kamakura --

The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master's eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries
  But loves them at Kamakura.

And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
  About him at Kamakura.

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,
Of birth as fish or beast or bird,
While yet in lives the Master stirred,
  The warm wind brings Kamakura.

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see
A-flower 'neath her golden htee
The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly
  From Burmah to Kamakura,

And down the loaded air there comes
The thunder of Thibetan drums,
And droned -- "Om mane padme hums" --
  A world's-width from Kamakura.

Yet Brahmans rule Benares still,
Buddh-Gaya's ruins pit the hill,
And beef-fed zealots threaten ill
  To Buddha and Kamakura.

A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
  The meaning of Kamakura?

But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
  No nearer than Kamakura?

About Paul Jacko

Jacko was born in Czechoslovakia not long before the communist putsch in February 1948. He studied industrial chemistry there and left in 1969 for Australia, where he became a lawyer and established his own practice. He has now retired and beside hunting, fishing, camping, prospecting and playing golf he amuses himself by writing.
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One Response to Buddha at Kamakura

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