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
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.