Longlisted Poem 2012

Amardeep Dhillon

King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Shizu Khan

(After Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

From Kereyid and Temujin
The Alph ran through the Shizu Khan.
Tributaries adorned his kin;
King currents swathed his blood and skin.
Thus, sacred rivers ran.

From Xanadu, its frothing home,
Khanbaliq stole the pleasure-dome.
Shizu, through wood and dale to incensed blood
Rode, through desert, over high mountain screens
Leaving incense where wailing women stood.
Thus fled the Alph, to Xanadu’s soft keens.

The sacred river’s hymns from Mongol Hordes
Proclaim the fear with which men end their days.
Within his pleasure-dome these inscribed words
Snare all who fall under his sparrow-hawk gaze.
As iris ripples from its stately point,
With Alph’s sweet tear reforming at its crest,
Shizu could not from lash to lash anoint
But whole horizons stole at Alph’s behest.

To red, dead seas his sons fly by the bow,
On restless steeds well-fed on Alamekites.
To Rakhshas, South, who will not greet the dhow
They bring red, dead seas through – the Khyber bites!
Cold riders of the steppe, which stately fort
Did Tengri’s sons forsake for richer loam?
“From where the wailing women’s echoes fought
for resonance in stately pleasure dome!”

Through nuptial ties and proud bloodline
The Alph’s cold contours traced its tear.
The stately pleasure-dome soon fell,
As dust before the shaman’s knell;
And from hot courage, fear.

“I will not bow!” his falcon eyes
stream daily down from Paradise.
The weakness of the delta as it floods
Will not weaken the sacred river’s flow.
And lineage come from diluted blood
Yet fears the man paradise fears to show.
© Amardeep Dhillon

Project Details

  • Date February 5, 2015
  • Tags 2012 Voyages - Longlisted Poems