Monday, January 10, 2022

A Poem Draft

 Mighty Shangdu

In mighty Shangdu, mighty khans
went back and forth in splendor bright;
upon their silken garments hemmed
were diamond stars of ceaseless light.
A man is small; mankind is great
and man who is as well mankind
has on his brow a golden crown
of golden leaves that sunrays bind--
yes, even if the crown is seized
by bloodshed thick and flooding red
or if the steps that rise to throne
are paved with remnants of the dead.

In mighty Shangdu, mighty khans
did take a pause in ruling lands
to wash the blood of endless hordes
with milk and water from their hands.
They dried their hands with finest silk,
in silver mirrors took their view,
and without qualm took up the sword
their foes in hosts to hack and hew.
The world itself could hardly hold
the treasures gathered in their halls,
yet now they gather only dust
confined in buried, crumbling walls.

In mighty Shangdu, mighty khans
had raised the glories of this life,
but never raised a single wall
that could defend from every strife;
what is a Shangdu raised today
a sad Kaiping may one day be,
the mistress of the world encrowned
to live in servitude unfree.
Thus mighty Shangdu wastes away,
destroyed by ceaseless hordes of time,
save to the relic-seeker's spade
or relic-hunting poet's rhyme.