Francis William Lauderdale Adams (1862-1893)

From Songs of the Army of the Night.

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Dai Butsu*

He sits. Upon the kingly head doth rest
The round-balled wimple, and the heavy rings
Touch on the shoulders where the swallow clings;
The downward garment shows the ambiguous breast;
The Face--that Face one scarce can look on, lest
One learn the secret of unspeakable things;
But the dread gaze descends with shudderings
To the veiled couched knees, the hands and thumbs close-pressed.
O lidded downcast eyes that bear the weight
Of all our woes and terrible wrong's increase,
Proud nostrils, lips proud-perfecter than these,
With what a soul within you do you wait--
Disdain and pity, love late-born of hate,
Passion eternal, patience, pride and peace!

*One of three giant statues of the Buddha in Japan.

(Text from The Sonnet in Australasia.)