Desert Asia

ONLY mounds now, only rarer traces
Tell where cities slowly sank and died away,
Tell where hearts and hopes of passing races
Came to naught in melting mirage, time’s decay;
Only mounds on far horizons fading
Over tossing sands where tall, gray camels graze,
Clear at morning, blurred at even, shading
Out-of desert shadows into glowing haze.
Tired nomads there at even singing
Sound the echoes of a long dead world’s despair:
Music of an ancient people ringing
Down the ages fills the desert everywhere.
Over barren hills forever haunted
Comes the chanting of the sad Hyrcanian shore;
Sorrowing winds of Asia waft unwanted
O’er a wasting sea still tossed by storms of yore.
He who hears it sees remote recesses,
Vague beginnings of an olden world’s arrears,
Ruins of Oblivion’s blurred abysses
Looming in the everlasting mist of silent years.
There are vistas dim where clouds dissever
Over far forgotten lands where cities gleam,
Generations that are gone forever,
Kingdoms crumbling in a dim primeval dream;
Leaving only deserts gray and lonely,
Sites of unremembered cities, gloomed and grand,
Tenanted by winds and shadows only,
Desolating winds and dunes of idle sand.