"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time." (T S Eliot)
"A dark and chanted verse is what I am." (
Forough Farrokhzad)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

ESFAHAN


It is of course much more easy for us –
Australians drive long routes without complaint.
For distance also marks our land’s estate.
So we share roads of the central plateau -
That once defined the old Persian heartland -
With open minds, but expecting rewards.
Yet the outskirts of this old capital
Defy our trust and seem, it must be said,
Disappointing – more dust, more shades of brown.
But our mindsets alter quite soon enough.

The old city’s centre is all we’d hoped:
Turquoise domes and bridges of golden stones,
Water trickling below a calm parkland.
Relics from Byzantine times add colors
To a painting of a glorious past
That caresses, surrounds, persuades us stop
And breathe it while we still have the desire.
At least four days the tourist brochures say
To see all that this place can bring to sate
Our lust for sights of Persia’s old glory.

Astounded by deep imprints on our souls,
We find a red-blossomed courtyard of peace
By an ornate caravanserai’s walls –
To which great Shah Abbas once lent his name.
The air seems cool now as we sip hot tea
Amidst gurgles from the smoking hookahs.
But we retire further to plan from our
Luxurious balcony’s vantage point
Our next advance – if that is the best word –
On gracious Esfahan’s sights, smells and sounds.

Once our allotted four days are all spent
There is only regret
That we can’t stay:
Dawdle some more in the bazaar’s caverns,
Search sharp skylines of minarets and domes,
Wander by the river from the Zagros,
Savour aromatic chelo kebab,
Absorbing saffron's uplifting flavour.
So we must quit our soft place of refuge –
To seek the next delight of Persia’s heart.

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