Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Head’s Up: A poetry column by Philip Appleman

Vol. 35 No. 4 May 2018

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.