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Persian Dreams

Dreams of old Khayyam's Rubayat
And glazed brown shiny doors of old
Now open up to darkened candy stores
Burst from imagination's folds

The doors fly open and alas
I see but bare walls of an empty room
No comics stands or chocolate bars
No Brownie Hawkeye cameras to buy

The candy store was dark and narrow then
So rich with hidden treasures in its womb
For the most part I could not afford
I was but twelve and thirteen then

It must have been in late teenage
That Persian poets came into my life
With jugs of wine, and loaves of bread
Words that could last a lifetime and beyond

So when I woke at three a.m.
The candy store, its doors and shelves
Lay on my pillow, as did phrases of that poem
You know the one, about the keys and veils

I had been walking with two friends
With arms entwined, it was a cheerful time
And clear as I am speaking to you now
I said the lines, I know I did

'There was a door to which I found no key
There was a veil past which I could not see
A little talk there was of me and thee
And then no more of thee and me'

Why did it come to me so clear
And in a dream of places long gone by
Of unknown hopes and wishes of a child
A dream so bright, I felt quite young again

It may be I am growing old
And oriental veils are calling me
Beyond those locks and doors
And deserts of the mind that Omar knew
Will there be candy stores that open wide
To me in spirit as I float
Will bites of chocolate-coated treats
Fill every mouth with widened throat

Is Khayyam's world or afterworld
More sweet then than the one we heard
In Hamlet's saddened speech to walls beyond
The harsh and cold stones of the Danish fold

We Westerners do shine in ghastly tomes
On hell and purgatory drear
Infernos burning all the wicked bones
And squeezing out all forms of fear

So is the truth then in a candy store
Or in a jug of wine beneath the bough
My dream may be the advocate
The tipping of the mortal scale

For as I live, it is quite dear
To contemplate a warm place full of glazed and colored tiles
With mustached, handsome lovers lying near
To bring the first fruits and the harvest's smiles

Perhaps I was a gypsy in Bombay
Or slave girl in the steppes of Caucasus
In times long gone, remembering no more
Except in dreams that grow at three a.m.

Though born to frozen northern lands this time
I cannot feel the sting of Yorick's skull
Or Vikings frosty search for whales and cod
They leave me cold, if you forgive the pun

When all is said and done and I pursue
The hot and heavy struggles of a poet's pen no more
Who will then reach for me beyond the veil
Will it be Omar with the grizzled Rumi, bard or yore?

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