Traveller Ensnared

I stopped,

only with the intent to linger

but for a moment

under the light of your wounded moon.

I did not expect to be so ensnared

by Gypsy song

and rhythmic dancing,

nor intoxicated by such beauty.

 

Maybe it was the fortified wine,

or mystic whispers carried

on the swirling smoke of hashish,

mixed with fragrant tobacco

that lured me to take comfort

in the arms of your Queen.

 

I was a traveller ensnared

by ancient architecture

and long, languid phrases

turned by a tongue

I should not have understood.

 

The culture called to me,

from deep in the annals of time.

Crumbled incense burned,

opium dreams on thick, rich rugs,

close enough to hear the oceans

beat against the shores

of your biblical homeland.

 

Fish and olives,

roast lamb and new wine

and old ways,

resurrected by children

under the eastern stars.

 

To my mind,

this was my Jerusalem,

your Megiddo in Summer.

Hot and stifling,

you wore only your hair,

long

and we sweat out every sin

our bodies could withstand.

 

They say that I was driven mad,

by the burning sand

and tinctures of cobra venom

meant to imbue the mortal man

with the capacity to contain

the passions of long dead deities.

 

Madness though,

like you,

eluded me.

I woke alone,

lost in the exquisite tapestry

I now found myself woven into.

 

I know not whether I was beggar or king,

but only that the sun had turned

my once pale and youthful skin,

dark and leathery,

like the cover of an old book

and I now contained the mystery

I once sought.

 

Returning home,

I was a man of forsaken ancestry.

Cursed by my own discoveries,

lost to the world I once knew.

 

Still, I close my eyes

and hear the sweet voice

that first opened me.

The music and the swaying hips

that discovered me

and I yearn for death,

for surely,

I have already seen heaven.

 

HG – 2016

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