Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WITH THE CARAVAN, by INA DONNA COOLBRITH



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WITH THE CARAVAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Closer the curtain. Still the sun is flame
Last Line: Are the gates wide, hasán?
Subject(s): Future Life; Mortality; Retribution; Eternity; After Life


I

Closer the curtain. Still the sun is flame,
And the sands metal, molten!
Ah, to lie
By the cool waters, breathing
The air that lifts the palm-fronds,
Hear my garden nightingale
Sing to his roses,—
Clasp my Rose of Roses!

II

Hasten your speed, O weary Camel-driver!
There is a catch in the bells, a lull, a drift to silence;
Night will be here—
Heavy the way,
Far lies the City—
Far!
And the Gates close, Hassán.

III

Strange was my dream mirage, of many scenes,
And in them I.
I would not greatly care
Again to dream, Hassán,
Or to my Shadow-land
Take me my Shadows;
Though by the Prophet, man, fair foe I was,
My fights with equal odds!

IV

O my Saharan dawns,
Catching the fires at the horizon's edge
And flaming to the zenith!
My Saharan nights,
Great moons that blurred the stars—
Silver above,
Silver beneath,
A sea of silver whose vast waves
Broke into silver foam—
And stillness—stillness—stillness that was prayer!

V

My Mare, Hassán!
Nay, bring her—I would see,
Would feel her nostrils nuzzle to my hand.
O my Delight! my Wonderful!
Bird of the Desert! Wings of the Winds of Flight!....
Mind you the great simoom?
She sheltered me—though, by the Crescent, we
Had like to be one mound.

How does the Arab love?
First, aye, the Prophet, spiritually!
His son: he transmits his name;
His bride: be sure, the last;
His Steed—I do think, Hassán,
That ranks him next the Prophet!
Dah-ma, she is your care—
Let her lack nothing, least of all—love ....
And .... Hassán ....
Not miss me overmuch.

VI

Why stilled the Camel bells, my Camel-driver?
Not stilled? the City near? ....
Fling wide the curtains!
Lift me, that I see
The sunset blazing upon tower and dome,
Hear the muezzin from his minaret—
"A-l-l-a-h—i-l—A-l-l-a-h" ....
Are the Gates wide, Hasán?





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