Saturday, November 29, 2014


Xanadu in Bamiyan

A lady laced in lazuli
In a vision once I saw:
It was a Scythian maid
And on her lute she played,
Singing as I sat in awe.
Strum did she so carelessly
And furrow her crescent brow.
Could I revive within me
Her braid lank and visage wan?
To such a deep delight 'twould win me
The crinkle of her crown,
That I would hang a disc in her hair --
That golden dome! those eyes of ice!
And all who heard should see it there
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
Her flashing eyes, her floating hair!
Weave a circle round me thrice
And close my eyes with holy dread.
Admit, she sings, admit you're scared.
For she on nectar-dew hath fed
And savored the Soma of Paradise.
Now stones fall flat, spell is broken,
Scattered like frost, teal blue tokens:
Talismans, amulets, airy moons,
Woven, arranged in gilded plait.
Still stand I, somehow I've spoken,
Mere token that I'll not be afraid.
And still lilts she her reverie,          
A warrior of wounded knees
And bitter burnt offerings.

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