Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A CANTO OF KHANS, by BERTON BRALEY



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A CANTO OF KHANS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Consider the story of khandahar khan
Last Line: Of khans who can't canter as other khans can!
Subject(s): Afghanistan; Courtship; Love


Consider the story of Khandahar Khan
Who lived on the prairies of Afghanistan
(If Afghanistan has no prairie domain
For "prairie" just substitute "mountains" or "plain").
But anyhow, kindly consider the case
Of Khandahar Khan and his fearful disgrace
Which put him in wrong with the whole of his clan
Of Khans who can't canter as other Khans can.

For Khandahar Khan took their horses one day
—Their cantering horses—and led them away.
He rode to the home of a neighboring Khan
Whose daughter he loved and he had a bright plan
To steal her away. But in Afghanistan
No lady will ever elope with a man
Unless all her chaperons, nurses and cronies
Accompany her—so he needed those ponies!

Thus cannily cantered young Khandahar Khan
To bring his fair sweetheart back home to his clan.
But when he had quietly loaded the nags
With sweetheart and chaperons, nurses and bags,
Her father awoke, and to speak he began:
"A Khan can't elope with my daughter! I ban
The nuptials right now." So he summoned his forces,
Canned Khandahar Khan but hung on to the horses!

So Khandahar Khan from his tribe got the can,
For they are a highly cantankerous clan,
And till he can cancel their terrible loss
And bring back the horses, the Khans will be cross.
To canter through canyons to them is denied,
They can't cant a leg over cantle and ride,
So Khandahar Khan is still under the ban
Of Khans who can't canter as other Khans can!





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