26th january 2005
if you open your mouth, you are wrong

Good to see that Gary Snyder has a new book of poems out, Danger on Peaks, where he writes about the post 9-11 world. This fragment on the Bamiyan Buddhas:

not even
under mortar fire
do they flinch;
the Buddhas of Bamiyan
Take refuge in the dust.

reminded me a little of Kipling's Song of the Galley Slaves:

we shall run out of the port-holes as the water runs along the oar-blade, and though you tell the others to row after us you will never catch us till you catch the oar-thresh and tie up the winds in the belly of the sail

and I see that the destruction of the Buddhas by the Taliban is almost a joke made by a zen master: the Buddhas are still there, of course. Although they were never there at all.