John Gimblett is a Welsh European, living and working in the UK. He has been writing and publishing for 25 years, in numerous anthologies, magazines, books and pamphlets. He has travelled extensively in India and Southeast Asia, as well as most points between Lisbon and Beijing, Donegal and Moscow, Tangier and Ephesus.

Note. On March 1, 2001, the Taliban militia began systematically destroying two giant rock carvings of buddha at Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, both of which were more than 1,500 years old, and World Heritage sites. There has been global condemnation of this vandalism, including chastisement from the only three nations to recognise the Taliban "government," namely Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. The Egyptian government has declared that this act is not justified by Islamic law, as is claimed by the fundamentalist Taliban. Several hundred other religious sculptures have already been destroyed in this purge, many of which formed the basis of the collection of the National Museum in Kabul. Offers by the U.S. and India to purchase and preserve these sculptures and rock carvings for the world and in the name of the Afghan people have been rejected by the Taliban. Om mani padme hum.


          Om mani padme hum.

1.          1222

Genghis Khan
defaced struck the
largest stone
statue in the

world, at Bamiyan,
curled a blind fist
thick as a dust
speck caught in it.

2.          632

More than one
can count on
two hands of
monasteries, more
than ten times

priests left
wandering apricot
orchards, nothing but
footprints breaking
dry frost of a

*     *     *     *

Ch'en I
                    Mu'cha tip'o

20, with stealth
and a half-world
of strength saw
it all in an

In India, the Holy
Kingdom of buddhism,
was seized on a river
by pirates who,

indebted to Durga
made to have the
monk sacrificed,

diminished to no
more than sleep.

Hsuan-tsang reined
in a storm, quaked
the pirates, who
begged for forgiveness.

Decreed freedom.

                    And the
monk, still fresh
from Bamiyan

carried buddhas as
strips of soft memory
back to Bodh-gaya.

3.          2001

                    "For tonight the teeming world gives
                     birth to the world everlasting."
                                                            Rumi, 'Shamsi Tabriz'.

In a firing of
any weapon they
have to hand
at the figures, in

a stockpiling at
the feet of buddha
gunpowder, in

a mortar bombardment
at the heart at
the folds of his
robe, in

the blast of a
gun metal cannon

man can undo
but never erase.

                    "Thou wert dust and art a spirit, thou
                     wert ignorant and art wise."
                                                            - ibid.


His face has been
taken. The serene
smile withdrawn, pulled
                    in-wards, to
the heart.

Still as - what? - rock?

Warm as a sun
borne mountain,

"How can there be laughter, how can there
be pleasure, when the whole world
is burning?"

brimming with a fire
kept fierce by a


four feet


                    "The fool who thinks he is wise,
                     he indeed is the real fool."

                                                            "Regression into medieval barbarism."
                                                            Indian govt. spokesman.

And the karma you draw
will define you, blacken your heart.


Once carved roughly
and refined over time
into what they became
for millennia

now the carving's
removed from the
mountain leaving the

mountain fused with the
idea of buddha.

Leaving the buddha
fused with the
idea of mountain.

All things return
to the earth,

yellow leaves hang
on the tree of life.


"All that is in the heavens and all
that is in the earth glorifieth Allah."
                                                            Koran, Surah LIX.

*     *     *     *     *     *