Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Foam

Eleven-hundred fifty-five
Years ago, Wang Jie printed
The Diamond Sutra in Chinese

On a five-meter paper roll,
Sumptuously illustrated,
Using seven long wooden blocks

Bearing the text carved in reverse,
Including a dedication
To his parents. The scroll ended

Among the forty-thousand books
Sealed inside a cave in Dunhuang,
Two centuries or so later.

The long seclusion preserved it,
And today it is the oldest
Known complete, dated, and printed

Book in the world. This has almost
Nothing to do with the Diamond
Sutra, which, like all holy texts,

Which, like most texts of any kind,
Carries on outside of itself
And beyond any authorship.

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