By Arthur T. Merrill

(The Japanese Buddhistic Diety of Pity.)

Ghostly, ghostly, a gray mist sways

Like a water-wraith, wind-tyrannized;

Ghostly, ghostly, the pale sulphur stars

Sift through a gray-green haze;

On white mist nebulae

Pale souls of Bodhisattvos rise

Seeking the cerulean depths of Nirvana;

Ghostly the wind drives through the grasses

Of an ancient way

Along a white road leading westward.

The wet fingers of the mist

Throttle the voice of the wind

And dank frigid silence prevails.

Here a ghostly temple stands


Therein the shrine of Kwannon,

Plum-bloom breasted.

No earth-love ever having stained Her cheek,

Her soul— fleckless white.

Diety of Pity, self-immolated,

Herself ripe for Nirvana:—

"Wherever a gnat cries, there am I!"

(A promise she fulfills.)

And the great heart of Her swells

When in some golden instant

Heroic deed is done, or pity shown.

Tides may ebb and flow,

And moons may wax and wane,

And suns reel on,

But more enduring

Is Buddhistic Kwannon's pity.

See! a child comes, a crone, a leper,—

To the plum-bloom breated One,

Diety of Pity,

Herself ripe for Nirvana.


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