The Maiden Tower - Poem by Ruslan Kerimov
The Maiden Tower
On the wind-swept coasts of Apsheron
Where early morning’s rising dawn
Gilds bright the waking Caspian Sea,
An ancient tower one can see.
Some architect, so far unknown,
Did not for war this tower build,
Behind its round walls of stone
A mystery is inside concealed.
Some history scientists maintain,
It was a zoroastric fane;
No battlements the tower crest,
Just swallows there are wont to nest.
In days of yore the sea was near,
Rolled high by gusts of wind severe
The Caspian’s billows struck the tower
With all their might and all their power.
At those times a beauteous princess
Lived in a palace by the tower
She flavored like a white narcissus,
A fragile but besotting flower.
Her eyes were like gazelle’s eyes,
Her scarlet lips like rubies dear,
Her words like music from the skies
Her soul was clear like baby’s tear.
She did enjoy for many hours
To gaze on Caspian’s glittering space,
Admiring fleets of fleecy clouds
That leave behind a smoky trace.
Of palace vanity so tired
She used to take a lonely stroll
As maiden dreams were gently fired
Deep down inside her innocent soul.
One summer day on a sea-shelled strand
By chance the wandering princess met
A handsome youth, who proudly held
A bronze trident in his hand.
It seemed to her she’d seen before
His eyes as bottomless as ocean,
He was the one she had waited for,
All life, to give him her devotion.
The lovers dated every day
And couldn’t quench the fire of feeling
To Amour’s arrow they were prey,
Deep was its wound defying healing.
But swifter than a racer horse
And faster than a carrier dove
The Rumor to the palace coursed
To tell about their secret love.
The king his daughter cherished tender,
As if she’d been an April rose,
But Gossip ruthlessly offended
His pride, depriving of repose.
The wicked tongues spread bitter blame
And buzzed just like a bee-full hive
That for a princess it’s a shame
To be a poor fisherman’s wife.
The king’s old heart was torn to pieces,
His royal honor is no fun,
He won’t let them be together:
A princess with a fisherman’s son.
The sneering servants’ envious band
Chastised her lover with the lash,
Expelled the youth from homeland,
The fisherman hut was burned to ash.
The king ignored his daughter’s pleading
And jailed the princess to the tower,
Where heavy stones of woe unheeding
Made endless every dreary hour.
Her tears crystallized like diamonds,
Her heart was bleeding, grooved with scars;
Bereft of love, in Grief’s black garments,
She was forsaken by the stars.
And, with her eyes from crying sore,
The princess looked into the distance:
Beloved is on an alien shore
Condemned to miserable existence.
The clouds gathered o’er the bay
In dark and lowering array,
The wind’s destructive cold gust
Made at the town its deadly thrust.
All evil spirits of the nature
Arose from their drowsy graves,
To punish people for misdoings,
Came out of their cobwebbed caves.
Tormented by her lonely grief
And heartless Destiny’s decree,
To find her rest and last relief
The princess jumped into the sea.
The Caspian greedily devoured
Her body down into the deep,
And then receded from the tower,
The furious tempest fell asleep.
Still live are here the legends’ words,
“The maiden” is the tower’s name,
Still here nestle vernal birds
The old tower looks the same.
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