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THE KIOSK: 1, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Beneath the shadow of a large-leaved plane
Last Line: That any one there present might have known.
Alternate Author Name(s): Houghton, 1st Baron; Houghton, Lord
Subject(s): Middle East; Story-telling; Near East; Levant


BENEATH the shadow of a large-leaved plane,
Above the ripple of a shallow stream,
Beside a cypress-planted cemetery,
In a gay-painted trellis-worked kiosk,
A company of easy Muslims sat,
Enjoying the calm measure of delight
God grants the faithful even here on earth.
Most pleasantly the bitter berry tastes,
Handed by that bright-eyed and neat-limbed boy;
Most daintily the long chibouk is filled
And almost before emptied, filled again;
Or, with a free good-will, from mouth to mouth
Passes the cool Nargheelee serpentine.
So sit they, with some low occasional word
Breaking the silence in itself so sweet,
While o'er the neighbouring bridge the caravan
Winds slowly in one line interminable
Of camel after camel, each with neck
Jerked up, as sniffing the far desert air.
Then one serene old Turk, with snow-white beard
Hanging amid his pistol-hilts profuse,
Spoke out -- "Till sunset all the time is ours,
And we should take advantage of the chance
That brings us here together. This my friend
Tells by his shape of dress and peaked cap
Where his home lies: he comes from furthest off,
So let the round of tales begin with him."
Thus challenged, in his thoughts the Persian dived,
And, with no waste of faint apologies,
Related a plain story of his life,
Nothing adventurous, terrible, or strange,
But, as he said, a simple incident,
That any one there present might have known.





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