Allah-exalting readers, of that map of stars
Which guides across the chartless wides of sand,
Casting their lot to lofty mastery which bars
Large error lightly made, might understand
What is the height of solitude, the lonely deep
Of absolute abandon's art, the broad
Chances of losing heart or head: where red's the sword
And sudden the attack when senses tend to sleep.
If there are charms unfathomed in that wilderness
And psalms antiphonally chanted, wave
To wave of undulating waste, I haste to press
Upon that secret vein, sound it and save
Some microcosmic talisman of ageless vast
Heartbeat: then, on the pinnacles of time,
Uplifted be my choice in choice of verse and rhyme
For song of lost serenity which, found, will last.
Wondrous, the widest spans of waste are thirsty all,
The sandy deserts and the salty seas;
Where is a merry matter for my madrigal
Save in the ships which bear aboard with ease
Their casks of water fresh and wine? while camels go
Watered on arid tracts in caravan
Their leaders, being Muslims, must maintain the ban
On wine, not any inns at green oases know.
Tabooed the wine, the women wooed not, how shall song
Have ending before glory is begun?
Rare are the wells, no taverns there, till shaft so long
Is drilled it touches oil! Sahara's won!
Foiled is the boiling sun by toil, uncoiled is rope
In steely strength of cable's length to realms
Standing so thick with corn, studded with oaks and elms,
Most capable of triumph's palm: O, live the soap
Of smooth co-ordinated moves, ahead
Until they hang themselves whose hope proves dead,
Dead as adoring Life, when love is sped -
'Allah ek akbar'!