On Seeing the Diabatsu at Kamakura, Japan

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Long have I searched, cathedral shrine, and hall,
To find a symbol, from the hand of art,
That gave the full expression (not a part)
Of that ecstatic peace which follows all
Life's pain and passion.  Strange it should befall
This outer emblem of the inner heart
Was waiting far beyond the great world's mart -
Immortal answer, to the mortal call.

Unknown the artist, vaguely known his creed:
But the bronze wonder of his work sufficed
To lift me to the heights his faith had trod.
For one rich moment, opulent indeed,
I walked with Krishna, Buddha, and the Christ,
And felt the full serenity of God.

The Great Buddha (daibutsu) at Kamakura dates from 1252. It is over 13 metres high, is built of bronze and weighs about 93 tons. The interior is hollow and visitors can look inside. The Buddha is the centrepiece of the Kotoku-in temple.

The great British poet Rudyard Kipling also wrote about the Buddha in his poem 'Buddha at Kamakura', which he penned after visiting the Buddha in 1892.