The hand that carved it did with love
apprenticed in Anatolian workshops
having hauled the marble over Asia,
releasing each acanthus leaf
and stem of the capital,
the scrolling volutes, effortlessly
supporting the massy burden
of the abacus on a whimsical fantasia,
each Mediterranean marble tongue
lapping at two-thousand years
of Gandharan sun.
So writes Vitruvius:
a young woman of Corinth
like a wild flower
wilted just as she blossomed.
overcome with grief
put all the baubles the girl had loved
into a basket
and placed it on the grave,
a tile on top to keep out the rain.
an Acanthus root, put out it’s verdure,
curling in on itself beneath the tile.
Callimachus the architect
saw it there.
The soul’s deepest purples and indigos
finding hiding places
hollowed out in the flourishing shadow
of those alien leaves’ caress.
their outstretched canopy
sprouting from a lotus,
immune to mortal lethargy and oblivion,
there sits the Buddha in stone
smiling like a subtle Apollo
guarded by Vajrayana who wields
Herakles’ rough-hewn club.
The Enlightened One raises
his hand in knowing
Artists and poets
are bees, cross-pollinating.
The best of West and East
embrace across the known world.