2013-04-22

Gates of Meduli




From the poem by James Elroy Flecker ~ found here ~


  FOUR great gates has the city of Damascus
       And four Great Wardens, on their spears reclining,
    All day long stand like tall stone men
       And sleep on the towers when the moon is shining.



This is the song of the East Gate Warden
When he locks the great gate and smokes in his garden.

Postern of Fate, the Desert Gate, Disaster's Cavern, Fort of Fear,
The Portal of Bagdad am I, and Doorway of Diarbekir. 
 
The Persian Dawn with new desires may net the flushing mountain spires:
But my gaunt buttress still rejects the suppliance of those mellow fires. 
 
Pass not beneath, O Caravan, or pass not singing. Have you heard
That silence where the birds are dead yet something pipeth like a bird? 
 
Pass not beneath! Men say there blows in stony deserts still a rose
But with no scarlet to her leaf--and from whose heart no perfume flows. 
 
Wilt thou bloom red where she buds pale, thy sister rose? Wilt thou not fail
When noonday flashes like a flail? Leave nightingale the caravan! 
 
Pass then, pass all! "Bagdad!" ye cry, and down the billows of blue sky
Ye beat the bell that beats to hell, and who shall thrust you back? Not I. 
 
The Sun who flashes through the head and paints the shadows green and red,--
The Sun shall eat thy fleshless dead, O Caravan, O Caravan! 
 
And one who licks his lips for thirst with fevered eyes shall face in fear
The palms that wave, the streams that burst, his last mirage, O Caravan! 
 
And one--the bird-voiced Singing-man--shall fall behind thee, Caravan!
And God shall meet him in the night, and he shall sing as best he can. 
 
And one the Bedouin shall slay, and one, sand-stricken on the way
Go dark and blind; and one shall say--"How lonely is the Caravan!" 
 
Pass out beneath, O Caravan, Doom's Caravan, Death's Caravan!
I had not told ye, fools, so much, save that I heard your Singing-man.
~ ~ ~

This pretty much describes, in effect, every way there is out of Meduli, as well.


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