Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Red Palace

In his last days, Shah Jahan was left to die in the Red Palace
With one faithful daughter to attend him, tools to write,
Memories of his beloved Mumtaz, and his distant view of the Taj.
His son had defeated all rivals for the old man's throne and
Became emperor before his father would be wrapped in white linen
And carried aloft to the marble spired mausoleum.

In the manicured paths that lay between his heart and that end,
He watched the awed travelers marvel before the prayer towers.
In his grief for his Queen, now forever parted, he became a prisoner
Of his passion and his great works, enslaved by his love and his loss.

The jewels encrusting the carved writings would be cleaved
By the sharpened knives of foreigners who would conquer this land.
Having prepared his place for eternity, he had not prepared his soul,
His people, or his land for the days on sorrow's bent knee.

Without dharma, artha has no meaning, and kama, no taste.
Dusty winds blow harshly around the arabesqued walls.
Hear in them the wailing of an old man's parched cries
Lamenting the untouchable vista of the beautiful temple.

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