How many songs until he sleeps?
I pour words over him,
his face dissolve in dim evening glass
his body lose its lines in
the intricate calligraphies that mark
the edges of his empire.
At the borders I will hang his name
beside the morning star and
hope to hide myself behind
the maze-path of the temple tiles,
And shadows cast by sleeping servants,
and illegitimate children of
his previous campaigns.
"Turn your eyes"—
turn them inwards once
I will fall away through
another's broken song,
whose thread I'll catch at dawn
and knot into a rope
About the Author: Dr. Ari Berk is a writer, visual artist, folklorist/mythologist, screenwriter, and film consultant. His publications have included works on myth and ancient cultures, as well as popular books for both children and adults. Ari’s most recent titles are Death Watch, Mistle Child and Lych Way (The Undertaken Trilogy) which the School Library Journal called "reminiscent of the classic gothic works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Shirley Jackson"; Nightsong (illustrated by Loren Long); The Secret History of Giants (winner of a NCTE Notable Award), The Secret History of Mermaids, and The Secret History of Hobgoblins. Ari holds degrees in Ancient History and American Indian Studies, as well as a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Culture. He has studied at Oxford University in England and, at the University of Arizona, was mentored by Pulitzer Prize-winning Kiowa author N. Scott Momaday. He currently sits on the advisory board of the Mythic Imagination Institute (Atlanta, Georgia). Ari and his wife, Renaissance scholar Dr. Kristen McDermott, currently live at the edge of a wood in the heart of Michigan. They are both professors in the English department at Central Michigan University. Visit him on the web at: www.AriBerk.com This poem was inspired by the tales of the Arabian Nights.
Copyright © 2001 by Ari Berk. This poem may not be reproduced in any form without the author’s express written permission.