Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov
Where waves of the Terek are waltzing
In Dariel's wickedest pass,
There rises from bleakest of storm crags
An ancient grey towering mass.
In this tower by mad winds assaulted,
Sat ever Tamara, the Queen--
A heavenly angel of beauty,
With a spirit of hell's own demesne.
Through the mist of the night her gold fires
Gleamed down through the valley below,
A welcome they threw to the pilgrim,
In their streaming and beckoning glow.
How clear rang the voice of Tamara!
How amorous did it invite!
The heart of the stranger enticing,
Seducing with magic delight!
The warrior was snared by her singing,
Nor noble, nor herd could withstand--
Then noiseless her portal was opened
By eunuchs of shadowy hand.
With pearls rare adorned and strange jewels,
Reposed on a billowy nest,
A prey to voluptuous longing,
Tamara awaited her guest.
With passioned and thrilling embracement,
With straining of breast unto breast,
With sighing and trembling and transport--
In lust's unrestrained, giddy zest--
So revelled 'mid desolate ruins,
Of Lovers,--past counting at least!
In their bridal night's wild distraction,
And in truth at their own death feast.
For when from the peaks of the mountains
The sun tore the night's veiling soft,
There reigned anew only the silence
On turret and casement aloft.
And only the Terek bewailing
With fury broke in on the hush,
As dashing her billows on billows
Her writhing floods onward did rush.
A youth's form her currents are bearing,
Ah vainly they murmur and swell!
A woman, a pale and a fair one--
Cries down from her tower 'Farewell!'
Her voice has the sound of faint weeping,
So amorous, tender and sweet--
As if she in love's holy rapture
Did promise of meeting repeat!
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(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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Naomi Shihab Nye
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(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)
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