Friday, November 21, 2014

Standing Amitabha Buddha, Kamakura Period

Our vision tired
from all this old looking,
we have come to rest our eyes
upon the standing Amitabha
back at the entrance
to the whole museum.

His weathered gold on wood
looks like a memory of fire.
The carved folds of fabric
ripple too finely, as if within
three feet are spanned leagues
through mists to a clearer heaven.

One hand gestures to tell us
there's nothing left to fear...
except there's that demon's mask
on the white wall behind him!
His face expresses what we haven't seen
since our arrival. We see it again having taken
in pine trees brushed black
on fine, folding screens,
and then the old Chinese cups
of cracked clay patched in gold.
(They were not thrown out, the broken,
but became great treasures yet.)
It must be the greatest wealth
his other hand extends to us unseen,
a free offer that lights his face
brighter in the giving
than any object here.

We walk away unsure
exactly what we are after,
what we might manage to do,
you and I, with our visit over
and all the little time left
of a Sunday afternoon.
We are tired and could stay
only a little longer with
the standing Amitabha,
this one who stays nothing but alert
and tells us the traveling is done at last,
done everywhere at speed or slowly,
everywhere beyond the exit of this place,
its heavy and brilliant glass doors.

link to sculpture

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