Dun Huang Paintings in China ‘Golden Opposite of Grave Beauty’ and Other Poetry by Phillip Whidden The Society May 16, 2017 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 2 Comments Golden Opposite of Grave Beauty The Buddhist, Yuezun, saw light like gold Above the blistering sands. The desert blight Of Taklamakan gained no stranglehold On shimmering beauty. There above cliff height A thousand golden Buddhas sang and danced With heavenly maids, celestial in strength And rhythm. Yuezun had only chanced Upon this vision of Enlightened length. He carved his cave, a little niche above The desert on the cliff face. There he set To painting on the niche’s walls the dove- Like maidens and the holy ones there yet ____Long centuries on, at least in rock set rooms ____Disciples dug, the opposite of tombs. Classic Clarity Who’d want to read the ancient poets, myth And tales, because of facts? Aegean blue And empty temples, ancient gravesites with A beaten gold mask may be facts and true, But true enough? Excited Schliemann sends The king of Greece a message, “I have seen The face of Agamemnon.” Culture lends Us larger truths. Greek daylight in between Ionic columns, whole or broken, tells Us more than archeologists. It means A mindset caught in clarity. The wells Of Homer’s words are truer in their scenes ____Of human anguish than the biggest fact. ____They teach us still how we should think and act. A Filthy Flow An image of St. Mark’s reflected in The waves of aqua alta warps the strength Of loveliness. Distortions caused by sin Are called to mind. Iniquities at length Are brought to judgment. Past Venetians stole That body from a church down by the Nile, The mummified old saint himself. A roll Of pork was placed around him so the vile Mohammedan was stymied. Others took The four bronze horses for the church as loot From Christians in the East. Then Venice shook An older world: her navy had to shoot ____The Parthenon, that jewel of ancient Greece. ____Deformed, Venezia deserves no peace. Phillip Whidden is a poet published in America, England, Scotland (and elsewhere) in book form, online, and in journals. He has also had an article on Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum est” published in The New Edinburgh Review. www.phillipwhidden.com Related Post ‘Sestina of Night’ by Karen Melander Magoon The lamp holds sway along the shadowed streets A penumbra encircles its sweet shine As night rests softly like a feathered cloak Upon a multitude o... Tell the world:FacebookTwitterTumblrPinterestRedditLinkedInEmail 2 Responses Carole Mertz May 16, 2017 The poetic skill of “Classic Clarity” is remarkable. The lines are there, and the rhymes, but the thoughts don’t stop. This is my clumsy way of saying how I appreciate the skillful line breaks, while remaining true to the sonnet’s form. Reply David Hollywood May 21, 2017 Wonderful poetry and subject matter in each. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.