Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Topkapi

i searched for comfort in history's
forgotten backyard, a reckless debris
it was: angry stone and mute granite
cobbling together in an ornate dance,
and the wind like a swirling dervish
swaying with the fury of a woman
scorned. the ottoman walls wailed
over memories of miseries enacted here,
and over pleasures that were played out
by the banks of the nearby bosphorus –
a pliable backdrop, if ever there was any,
to this decaying palatial harem
where eunuchs and courtiers conspired
to stretch an empire beyond the marmara.
i was all alone when i witnessed all this
from my zephyr burnished perch, an impossible
privilege in the days of the sultan
and now a mere salutary stop
in a tourist̢۪s itinerary. i was perturbed,
to say the least, at what this meant
and found no comfort in pitying
the significance of this moment
as i saw before my eyes
centuries of conquests collapse
into a parable of the inevitable.

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