• Joanna Seldon

  • Twin Giants

    (In March 2001, the Taliban destroyed with dynamite the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan)


    After the heavy silence, a breath suspended

    Gasped in the valley.

    Then earth erupted,

    Kush shuddered, shook,

    Shell-shocked, vanquished,

    Its gashed flank bled.


    Gigantic holiness exploded, sattva streamed

    Down mountain’s edge.

    Lips of the tranquil smile, now blown apart,

    Tumbled on hard, dry earth.

    Those heavy-lidded eyes, crossed limbs,

    Torn open, smashed to dust.


    Twin Buddhas, squeezed dead in the fist,

    Fanatic fist, killed by the cold, hard eye,

    Found Nirvana as they seethed through air

    Then slumped to rubble.  Those pedestals

    (Keenly offered, cash offered) stand empty

    In Metropolitan halls.


    The revolution of the world is half-way through

    Its turning year.  A bright gold morning

    Smiles.  September.  Again the earth


    The twin gods of the west

    Bend at the knees

    And crumble

    Into dust.