Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Here, there are no mountains,
no tall-treed valleys of shade
and rest. No streams run laughing
beside us, laughing at us

and our love-making. Once,
we knew such laughter, mingling
with our own voices' song,
tumbling away. Such youthful,

boisterous rivers are lost
to hearts that fade, fade as
the flowers we left in
the mountains of the Medes.

We are naked, here.
There is no hiding from
the sun, no secrets kept
from night's knowing stars.

Our faces have become
those of the gods who guard
the city gates, the painted
masonry, weary

of their pretense of power,
of vigilance, of life.
Your kingdom squats upon
these plains, bounded in.

Bounded by great rivers
and by great mountains beyond,
Babylon, the mighty,
is my prison. I long,

O, King and Husband, I long.
For the mountains, I long,
for Media, my home.
Here, there are no mountains.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

This is an imagining of the lament of Amytis of Media, wife of Nebuchadnezzer, for her home in Media (more or less modern Iran). In response to his wife's unhappiness, the Great King built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the legendary Seven Wonders of the World.

Maybe. Evidence suggests that the original Hanging Gardens were in Ninevah, built by an Assyrian king a couple centuries earlier. Maybe Nebuchadnezzer copied them or maybe the story just got attached to him by the Greeks.

I've kept this poem accentual, three stresses to the line.

There's a heat wave here on Peanut Road, temperatures well up into the mid-90s. Summer weather, but a little early! We may see worse later in the season, but this is, in general, about as bad as it gets. Especially when the rainy season isn't on us yet to cool things down in the afternoon, a tad. I'll have to be diligent with my watering for a while. I hope that the incredibly thick swarms of gnats let up some so I can get out there with the hose!

Internet remains rather frustrating. We actually got a little better this past weekend and I was able to connect on nearly-normal dial-up speeds a couple times. Back to abysmally slow and erratic yesterday, however. Overall, we do seem a little better but it's certainly not what I've been used to the last four years here.

The Florida Folk Festival is coming up in a couple and a half weeks. I'm simply not going to make any plans for attending. It could happen but, well, if it does, it does. The niece (Mean Mary) will be performing, of course. She's also doing the Ormond Beach festival this weekend. I'm not hearing much from her so I don't know if she intends to hang in Florida the week and a half between the two. 'Twould be silly to go anywhere else, though!

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