In the emptiest region of Emptiness Land,
In its heart where few caravans ply;
Where the slow-rolling waves of millennial sand
Stretch as wide as the width of the sky
And the silence, as deep as the depths overhead,
Is disturbed but by whispering wights
When they dance in a swirling of dust tainted red
By the moon upon ominous nights;
There once stood a great city of marble and gold,
Of sweet gardens and gracious arcades,
With a monarch as mighty and soldiers as bold
As e’er wielded a scepter or blades.
And the pride of its king rose as high as the sun
And th’empyrean itself would have claimed.
That is how, legend tells, he offended the One,
The Abaser, the Ninety-Nine-Named.
The Abaser abased, and the city now lies
Desert-whelmed where few caravans tread.
Not a wall, not a ruin appears to the eyes,
And no tongue speaks the names of its dead
Save the fiery tongues of the genies who sigh
In their spiraling dance ‘neath the moon
When they snatch and they twirl a few atoms on high
Off the crest of a burial dune.
© 2022 Sarah van der Pas
Can be sung to the tune of …