by Edwin Markham
I looked 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.
Last updated May 02, 2015