The Ancient Modern

The Archangel Contemplates A Buddha  /  Joshua Alan Sturgill     

The Archangel contemplates
a limestone buddha [its serene,
down-gazing eyes; right hand on left; the wheel
of dharma engraved
on each foot] spattered 

with blood.  This is day
four-hundred twenty-nine
of the new war.  Violence has reached the capital city.
The Archangel: How
can such a fractured world 

hold together?   The buddha: both a bullet
and a gilded face
are made of earth by hands
made of earth.  The Archangel: Who
can bear this earth?  The buddha: Jews

and Cambodians, Aleuts
and Australians together are the whole Christ
declaring When I am lifted up
The Buddha contemplates
a granite archangel [bearing a weathered

scroll, its stern face once a prelude
of the Glory] carved
above the door of a museum
that was a church.  The Buddha: How
will the dead be made alive again?

Only the Blessing is not madness.
Only the Breaking is not violence. 
Only the Eating is not mortality.


All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2023 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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