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The Night of the Moor

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:16 am
by keatsodes
Behind the sparkling light in all men's eyes
Across the wide arcade of twinkling skies
Lie hidden hopes and dreams of those who died
Who wished but not in vain to have tears cried.
Their story goes like many who have gone,
Yet nameless, still ringeth their clarion:
Like the wind that carries the trumpet's call,
Or the waves that take us through life's falls;
So must the smallest flicker our guide become
Our only guide in life through the maelstrom,
Like glimpsing the light of a nameless star
Who leads us to ‘n fro places afar.
Such things as turn men's sights into a haze
May be those things which change our ways,
Like that shining light of a nameless star
Out in the corner of the skies afar,
Which causes us to wonder at the sky
As our hearts with the unknown come nigh.
Thus wits lie solely in these shapeless skies
Whose forms to the eye remain in disguise
But light when caught in the corner of one’s eye
Across the arcades of the mind's peaks high
That twinkling spec in the eyes of mortals
Reminds us all of that immortal;
Like that shining light of a nameless star,
Out in the corner of the skies afar.

This next one was inspired a sort of cross between Keats' Eve of Saint Agnes, along with Schiller Hero and Leander and his The Diver.

The Night of the Moor

The moon was veiled like an eastern maid that night
And sad nightingales sat mutely perched
In the gloomy groves, as a sweet princess searched
For her beloved Moor, who stood bedight
With turban and with rapier, while the moonlight
Ebbed from out of the silvery clouds
Like the eyes of eager maidens behind silky shrouds.

While fountains softly sang in whispering streams
In those myrtle courts they would embrace,
Yes, and she would look to him with her sweet face
Lit up by the virtue of Christian dreams.
And Granada’s clear moon, with its pale beams
Did shine on every stream,
Each singing with the notes of Andalusian dreams.

She remembers it well, when her memory dares:
How soon those harbingers of sorrow
Those augurers who make her heart so hollow:
Storms of turbans, scimitars and rapiers,
Christians firing votive arrows through the air,
The mute skies, foggy nights, all were but the score
For the hymns of arrows and the rapiers melodious lore.

For over the starry canopy a battle
Raged, when all of heaven’s tapers were unveiled
And each scimitar and blow that rained
Seemed to graze the sky and its starry mantle
So she could hear as each fated soul
With its faith was reconciled,
But from this earthly realm forever exiled.

And this was the night her Moor took off
Disappearing in those starlit groves
To join his fellow brave Moors in warlike droves
As the Houris [1] in Paradise scoft
Watching from perpetual gardens aloft
How the fields became urns
And how this Christian princess felt love’s fateful burns.

Now alone she prays for her beloved Moors safe
Return; she prays to her holy mother
And then again sends vespers to her holy father,
So long as she’s on earth she’s kept her faith
Hoping her Saracen would return to this place
Which the Houri, jealous, disdains -
Watching as these mortals bear the loveliest of pains.

Yet she could bear those lonely nights no longer
But like some fay in darkened coves
She longed to wander through those starlit groves
Joining the nightingale, to saunter
Through those darkened dales, hoping to discover
Her Moor, arriving back from battle
Avoiding once more the fate of many a mortal.

And it was there that she heard those sweet notes
Descending from some fortress tower
Pouring down in some melodious shower,
Perhaps her Moor beyond those moats
Singing with the most blessed of angels’ throats,
A sign of his long sought arrival
A sign of some great success in harrowing battle.

And so she ran through those groves as moons lit
Her way through the Cypress courts and fairy halls
Where the Jasmine blooms pour down like waterfalls.
In those courts tasting of paradise
They once lived like Orpheus and Eurydice
Singing and caressing at passions helm
Before falling into Pluto’s lonely shadow realm.

Thus she followed this melody through the fog
Wandering through the inner sanctums
Of the rich Moorish palaces, like phantoms
Who have lost their way on the earthly sod.
But journeying through those halls was odd
As Divine scripts seemed to whisper on the walls
Calling her deeper and deeper into those fairy halls.

But no mortal image decked these Moorish haunts
No symbols or reliefs with holy visage
Like orphic hymns frozen on the page
Of time their silent form taunted
Her restless heart, a spirit who but wanted
To gaze on her Moor and his noble mien
To hear those notes, soft like roses, and fierce like the lion.

Leading her into an open air court:
Where she watched the moon and clouds filling
The skies, a sight more beautiful and fulfilling,
Than the radiance days can purport:
It was there that she beheld those Moors
All clad in gold, glistening through the mist,
Ancient relics one thought no longer could exist.

“Sovereign lords, with your mortal tongues sharper
Than all the rapiers these lands have known,
I’m searching for my noble Moor who once shone,
Like Apollo in his radiance
Whose glistening accents were fed by love’s ardor.
Surely you know this Moor who sung
As though the heavens danced on the tip of his tongue?”

Their wandering gazes swam across the court
With the force of a comet gliding
Across our skies, as if creation smiling;
One, in silken gold, a phoenix of sort,
With fiery gaze turned to make his retort:
“We know of many such singers
Whose verses sound like the lines of the rapture bringers.”

He spoke of those poet warriors who fared
Long ago in desert times of yore
Where from their tongues like Phoenixes did soar
Magic streams; they were the ones who dared
To fill their throats with song, and had any man spared.
Life and Love and Death danced upon their tongue
They were poets of princes and princes of poets.

Suddenly the princess heard those sweet strains
Her Orpheus arrived to save her,
Appearing with all the Saracen’s valor.
Gazing on him bearing those lovely pains
She said “Once more you come but with mortal stains
Oh my Love! I thought no more
Would we hear those glistening accents, that rapturous lore.”

And so this Moor, with his silvery arms regales:
“Not the jealous Houris could stop me
Whose soft sighs drown the sirens in the sea;
For I know what mysteries that face veils
With those eyes like stars by which each ship sails
And that soft pale cheek like milky moonlight;
These are the wonders of heaven beneath the veil of night.”

“Can we finally live in the peace we’ve sought
Making our home Andalusia's lands,
Not needing to return to those desert sands
But live in the pomegranate's shadow
Where the nightingale makes his harmonious plot?”
So she spoke. But she would have to lose her Moor
Once again, and the test of love suffer once more.

“We cannot yet” he says, turning with resolve
Then walking towards his steed, stopping,
Only to say: “The peace must be won, before returning”
And so he departed, to live or to fall
By Islam’s holy standard, to dissolve
Such strife; and so he left Granada
On his white steed, bright like the moon over the dark Vega.

Now standing, forlorn in the general life
Where fountains streamed with diamond like water
Soon the fog returned and quieted the water
As the perfume of citrus and pomegranate groves
Mixed with the icy breath of the Sierra,
For one could hear from the Vega screeching and roaring
As if the Houris had had enough – the end importing.

Frightened she runs back through the castle halls
And finds those sages all gathered round
But with ghostly mien, their faces wore a distant gaze
Peering beyond those fortress walls.
They were dead to all her helpless calls,
For like a broken hourglass whose sand runs off
Their evanescent forms dissolved into the sky aloft.

And there he was behind them, like a starlit specter
Returned from the battle of glorious faiths:
Rapture was written on his moonlight face,
But no words issued from this fabled singer
No twinkling accents or gentle whisper,
His eyes remained silent like the desert night
As cities and towns when flooded by the moon’s light.

She said, “My Love, oh where have you been?
Let me hear once more from your sweet
Throat the music, which gave my heart its every beat,
For which my blood without would abandon!”
But he was still, her words did not seem to reach him;
Yet see! As the earth is torn from her dark shrouds
He began to fade with the moon and all her clouds.

Frightened, this sweet princess begs of him: “speak
“Oh my Love, your death again I cannot bear!”
With his piercing eyes like crescent moons he stares
And speaks: “I’ve been to the depths of the soul
I’ve seen those glittering gates, but the bells now toll!”
And then he vanished on the ethereal stair
Vanishing like desert dunes on the cool midnight air.

I have a website where I post all of my poetry and that of others for those who would like to see some different kind of stuff