Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Afghan Buddha

Afghan Buddha

Hadn’t heard that phrase for a while
”It’s OK mate, she’ll be right”
He said with a broad Maori smile
“Should be home t’murra night.”

As painted girls watched or are they dolls
In the hotel the waitress smiled
Every time she filled my glass
And it was a genuine smile
As she went about here work

Bangkok is like a porcelain shop
After Afghanistan, and I wonder
If they will break like China dolls
If I touch them

The Kalashnikovs are quiet here
Russian, not Chinese, like the dolls
Under the pacific shadow of Buddhism
But in Kabul the rockets reign
And women hide under Burkha
Then the next day its mini-skirts in Bangkok

The sleeping Buddha lies silent
While the Muezzin shouts in Kabul
Burning my eardrums but not my brain
Which is convinced about God
And his love

20 December 1995

I have just returned from Bangkok a city I visited and for the first time in 1975. The most profound effect Bangkok had on me when I passed through in late 1995 after two years in Afghanistan. After the bloodshed and killing I experienced in Afghanistan, Bangkok was so calm. The poem above was written to compare Afghanistan to Bangkok at that tragic juncture in time. Interestingly, Buddhism reached Afghanistan long before it reached Thailand. The dichotomies of this world puzzle me and poetry is the only way I can express it

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