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The Poets

June 19, 2010

Beyond the Rhine


Her blood is blood of Ptolemy-
There's nothing pharaoh in her veins.
Yet she, the queen conscripting me,
Commands I put my own in chains!

What more- forlorn and worn by war-
I weary bore her wretched times.
Audacity decreed: No more!
And so I fled her House of Crimes.

Now seven years have gone and fled-
And I the post that she commands-
And though she seeks my paltry head
She’ll never find it in these lands ...

For I am fled beyond the Rhine,
Beyond her foreign yoke and rod,
Into a wilderness divine
Where freedom is my only god.

And still I feel her brooding skies
Are peering on this smold’ring hearth ...
Her malice and her livid eyes
They curse the Phoenix of my birth.

-jwm

4 comments:

John W. May said...

Omitted introductory line:

The memory's no distant thing-
It weeping calls from corners faint-
For Egypt lacks a native a king,
And hard is squandered- sole complaint!

Omitted concluding lines:

Man

But Nuit, I know thy quiet sky,
That none thy peaceful night can steal-
But should her soldiers hither ply,
The soldier that I was will kill.

Nuit

Then sleep on soldier through the night-
Let all thy slumbers pain assuage.
Should war-lust bring to thee its fight
Then come thou forth in waking rage.


The image of Cleopatra is from a painting done by my favorite Pre-Raphaelite artist, John William Waterhouse.

John W. May said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Did you happen to notice how the Cleopatra painting looks very similar - though female - to your own photo used in your "About Me"?

Katarina Silva said...

A very interesting observation Nancy. I love Waterhouse. And this poem of yours John is exquisite! You have such skill with words! Their poetic weave you give them delights me. Truly. A gift!

As of April 9th, 2010