Head’s Up: A poetry column by Philip Appleman
THE DESERT AT SHIRAZ
Come sing to me in the garden,
Of a bowl and a lute and a kiss.
Like the zephyrs that whisper in Eden,
Sing of thrushes and blushes and bliss.
Sing a tune of the blooming of jasmine,
Of stars in the far morning air,
Yearning arms in a tracery casement,
And maidens ineffably fair,
Of ambrosia and nectar and jewels,
And meadows and magic and youth,
Of ecstasy, tears, and avowals,
And towers and trumpets and truth …
Alas, with a crackle of crystal
The silver streams muddy to lead,
And the bulbuls and parakeets listen
To the wail of an age that is dead.
Now passion is a pimp for any preacher,
And spring is holding out for bigger tips.
The nymphs are casting leers like any lecher,
And a desert has buried our gardens and sighs
with a blast from its hot prosy lips.
From Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie
© Philip Appleman.
Philip Appleman is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. He is editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Darwin. He and his playwright wife, Marjorie Appleman, are both “After-Life” Members of FFRF. Phil’s books: ffrf.org/shop.