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,
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.
Return to Index