A LOOK INTO THE GULF
by: Edwin Markham (1852-1940)
one night, and there the Semiramis,
- With all her mourning doves about her head,
- Sat rocking on an ancient road of Hell,
- Withered and eyeless, chanting to the moon
- Snatches of song they sang to her of old
- Upon the lighted roofs of Nineveh.
- And then her voice rang out with rattling laugh:
- "The bugles! they are crying back again--
- Bugles that broke the nights of Babylon,
- And then went crying on through Nineveh.
- Stand back, ye trembling messengers of ill!
- Women, let go my hair: I am the Queen,
- A whirlwind and a blaze of swords to quell
- Insurgent cities. Let the iron tread
- Of armies shake the earth. Look, lofty towers:
- Assyria goes by upon the wind!"
- And so she babbles by the ancient road,
- While cities turned to dust upon the Earth
- Rise through her whirling brain to live again--
- Babbles all night, and when her voice is dead
- Her weary lips beat on without a sound.
POEMS BY EDWIN MARKHAM
"A Look into the Gulf"
is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900.
Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.