Duncan Campbell Scott

(2 August 1862 – 19 December 1947 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Fantasia Poem by Duncan Campbell Scott


Here in Samarcand they offer emeralds,
Pure as frozen drops of sea-water,
Rubies, pale as dew-ponds stained with slaughter,
Where the fairies fought for a king's daughter
In the elfin upland.
Here they sell you jade and calcedony,
And the matrix of the turquoise,
Spheres of onyx held in eagles' claws,
But they keep the gems as far asunder
From the dull stones as the lightning from the thunder;
They can never come together
On the mats of Turkish leather
In the booths of Samarcand.

Here they sell you balls of nard and honey,
And squat jars of clarid butter,
And the cheese from Kurdistan.
When you offer Frankish money,
Then they scowl and curse and mutter,
Deep in Kurdish or Persan
For they want your heart out and my hand
In the booths of Samarcand.

They would sell your heart's blood separate,
In a jar with a gold brim,
With a text of burning hatred
Coiled around the rim;
They would sell my hand upon a beam of teak wood,
In the other scale a feather curled;
They would sell your heart upon a silver balance
Weighed against the world.
But your heart could never touch my hand,
They could never come together
On the mats of Turkish leather
In the booths of Samarcand.

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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