Monday, March 11, 2013

Poetry and Coffee: A Bit of an Odd One

This is one of my favorite poems. It's also a little strange.

The poem is a dedication in the book Seven Pillars of Wisdom. If you've ever seen or heard of Lawrence of Arabia, this is the man (and book) that movie was based on. He was known for his liaison role in the Ottoman Empire during the Arab Revolt.

Although he never confirmed it, scholars agree that "S.A." is most likely Selim Ahmed, a young Syrian boy that Lawrence was fond of. He died at age 19 from typhus, weeks before Lawrence set out to liberate Damascus from the Ottomans.

To S.A.  
I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands
And wrote my will across the
Sky and stars
To earn you freedom, the seven
Pillared worthy house,
That your eyes might be
Shining for me
When I came

Death seemed my servant on the
Road, 'til we were near
And saw you waiting:
When you smiled and in sorrowful
Envy he outran me
And took you apart:
Into his quietness

Love, the way-weary, groped to your body,
Our brief wage
Ours for the moment
Before Earth's soft hand explored your shape
And the blind
Worms grew fat upon
Your substance

Men prayed me that I set our work,
The inviolate house,
As a memory of you
But for fit monument I shattered it,
Unfinished: and now
The little things creep out to patch
Themselves hovels
In the marred shadow
Of your gift.
T.E. Lawrence, 1922

1 comment:

  1. Wow, some really beautiful imagery. Thank you so much for sharing, Selma.