Poetry of Kansas

The Cymbals

When I was a princess, tall and slim, by some languorous eastern
river, __
    (O it was thousands of years ago, and a thousand more and
a day!)
Whenever the sound of the cymbals rose, with their tremulo
crash and quiver,
    The blood in my pulses would stir and leap to the sensuous
music's sway.
Life was an idle and weary thing by that sullenly flowing water;
    By hardly a breeze from the wistful sea were the indolent
date palms stirred;
But a wearier thing there lay in the breast of Pharaoh's silent
    Till the challenging cymbals clashed and clung, and she lifted
her heart and heard.
And life was suddenly vivid, sweet, as, careless of regal duty,
    Slipping her royal robes she rose, so slenderly straight and
Her jewels were dulled in the sudden blaze of her wakening
youth and beauty,
    And swaying she stood while her sandalled feet were answer-
ing the cymbals' call.
Piercing and high the cymbals flung their challenge to life and
    And she clung to the moment she knew must pass when the
music had died away;
So from Pharaoh's time, through the ages down, they hay
played with the fires they fashion
    From human hearts   .     .     .   and under this far blue north-
ern sky today
The blood of that princess, tall and slim, by the slumbering
eastern river, __
    (0 it was thousands of years ago when the sun and the stars
were new!)
Till leap to the shivering cymbals' crash, __ and as suddenly
drop and quiver,
    When the echoing music has died away, and I know that the
spell is through.

__Ester M. (Clark) Hill.


The Call of Kansas and Other Poems
Esther M. (Clark) Hill
(Cedar Rapids: Torch Press. __)
Pages 59-60

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November 5, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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