THE FACE OF THE BUDDHA

THE FACE OF THE BUDDHA

A Poem by Nolo Segundo
"

I spent part of 1973-74 teaching in Cambodia-- this poem is my reaction to the terrible genocide inflicted by the Khmer Rouge on some of the gentlest people I have ever known.

"
They haunt me still:
the brown children laughing,
always laughing, and
the women voluptuous,
languid, of the earth.

And the traffic policeman,
crisp, clean in uniform,
moving with ballerina grace
as hordes of cyclos and mopeds
and the occasional automobile
pirouette endlessly about him,
impatient bees made quiescent
by surreal beauty of white-gloved
arms cutting thick tropical air.

Everywhere was grace, gentleness:
temples incandescent at dawn,
with ant trails of orange-robed monks
cradling their pot-belly begging bowls.
The patient women standing by the road
to lump rice into the begging bowls,
the monks always staring blankly ahead
until the women bowed low in reverence,
grateful their gift of life was taken.

And how wondrous it was,
an accident in the street,
yet no anger, no bile--just
forgiveness, felt before thought,
thought before uttered.

How could such a people murder,
no, not murder-- slaughter!
Their mothers and fathers,
aunts, uncles, teachers, priests,
friends and children too.
Change temples of peace
into charnel-houses?
Schools of knowledge
into bloody abattoirs?

The killers photographed
each butchered lamb, like
the devil's children on holiday,
and then decorated the
classroom walls, making a
show-and-tell of horror
and despair....

Why? Why?
Why such pain on
such gentle people?
Why did God hide hide
His face while the world
turned its back?

Forty, forty, forty
years and still...
still they haunt me.

(c. 2014)

 

© 2016 Nolo Segundo



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Featured Review

The description in this piece was magical! So on point and then more! I wasn't expecting the end to be the way it was, it was much better! Such talent! The story you have depicted is awful, it's terribly sad but unfortunately it does happen. Great write :)

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nolo Segundo

5 Months Ago

Thank you Willa-- I just logged in when I saw your very thoughtful review. And yes, the waste that h.. read more
WillaDanvers

5 Months Ago

No worries, you are a great writer :) Sometimes it takes the most awful situations to create a piece.. read more



Reviews

The description in this piece was magical! So on point and then more! I wasn't expecting the end to be the way it was, it was much better! Such talent! The story you have depicted is awful, it's terribly sad but unfortunately it does happen. Great write :)

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nolo Segundo

5 Months Ago

Thank you Willa-- I just logged in when I saw your very thoughtful review. And yes, the waste that h.. read more
WillaDanvers

5 Months Ago

No worries, you are a great writer :) Sometimes it takes the most awful situations to create a piece.. read more
I have heard of horrors like these, where a society loses its mind. Like what happened in Rwanda. This ruined my day.

Posted 8 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nolo Segundo

8 Months Ago

Yes, Andrew, it is depressing to think of the evil human beings can do to each other-- it is one of .. read more
Speechless! I enjoyed this

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nolo Segundo

8 Months Ago

Please forgive me for not thanking you sooner-- just resolved some health issues recently.
Fantastic! Those closing lines sent chills up my spine.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nolo Segundo

8 Months Ago

Forgive me for not thanking you sooner-- had some health issues to deal with last year,so overlooked.. read more
Greatly enjoyed. Yes, it is hard to see ruthless violence in the midst of peace.

Well written, emotion flowing through.

"Forty, forty, forty
years and still...
still they haunt me"

I see. I feel it.

Best regards,

Rick

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nolo Segundo

1 Year Ago

Thank you, Rick
Wonderful Poem, it was very touching

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nolo Segundo

1 Year Ago

Thank you Abby-- I still can't quite believe the Cambodian genocide happened, but then how can one?
I have wondered many times how a gentle people could commit these crimes against others and each other. The title of your poem caught my eye because I have been interested in Buddhism for quite some time. What was it like teaching in Cambodia in the seventies? I imagine that it must have been both beautiful and jarring.

Posted 1 Year Ago



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Added on March 24, 2016
Last Updated on December 19, 2016

Author

Nolo Segundo
Nolo Segundo

Philadelphia, PA



About
From adolescence until I was 24, I was an agnostic. Then I almost drowned, and had what has come to be called a near death experience. So for the past 45 years I've known that the problem with life i.. more..

Writing