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Gangelin, Paul; Hanson, Earl; Gregory, Horace (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXI, Number 4 (January 1922)

Emmerling, Margaret
April,   p. 99

Page 99

But she-Your father's sire could tell
The story of her deeds. She sinned
And sinned again; no god could quell
Her passions. Like the desert wind,
Her arms swept eastward unto Ind.
Full many a town she battered down;
Half Nineveh she javelined
Without a frown.
A hundred thousand men did dwell
In Nineveh, but one black day,
Rebelling 'gainst the queen, it fell,
And its vast walls were reft away.
And now, red throated lizards play
Among the stones that were the thrones,
While the thin desert grasses sway
Above men's bones.
The mighty marble cenotaph
Is broken down and fallen prone
Upon the sand. Odd satyrs laugh
Within the palace. Jackals moan
And battle round the corner-stone;
Wild lions roar across the moor
Where one weak date palm, all alone,
Marks Istar's door.
Ten thousand Nubian black slaves
Built Babylon at her command.
She drove them till their shallow graves
Covered a mighty plain of sand.
The Hanging Gardens that she planned
Rose spire on spire, and ever higher,
But rivaled not the mountain land
Of her desire.
Yet are gods vengeful, and her might
Excelled all mortals; her own son
They sent to her one dusty night
With murder in his mind. 'Twas done
Under the brazen desert moon
That saw his birth, and with grim mirth
He buried her who Babylon
Made lord of earth.
Her rough, unpictured crypt no eye
Now sees, and in between her lips
The dead sand shakes eternally,
And through her flesh the fig root slips,
When cold December rainfall drips
From the blank skies-And on her eyes,
About her breasts and shrunken hips,
A serpent lies.
She was the greatest queen! Before
Her throne a thousand princes bent
To do her grace, and many more,
With fearful mien, or reverent,
Bore gifts of purple cloth, or sent
Great lords to bow, that she might know
Their love of her, and give consent
To peace-And now-
And now her very line is dead,
Dead the last children of her son;
Her friends and courtly nobles fled
Or buried far from Babylon.
The memory of her name is gone,
Save only where with musk and myrrh,
By a lone shrine in Ascalon,
Men worship her.
And Onnes, stripped of the delights
That made court ladies call him fair,
Must sleep by city walls of nights,
In daylight wander here and there,
And live by alms, and pay by prayer
And benison for gifts-
The gates are wide, and I must fare
To Babylon.
From twilight to dawning you airily drift,
A lost glint of starlight, a questioning child,
Now looking for laughter, or wandering wild
Like feathery seeds which the crying winds lift.
Come, clothe your white soul in the colors of noon,
In the flame of the sun and the silver of rain.
Oh, dance to my singing, and never again
Go playing alone with a thin, dying moon.
January, 1922

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