8-4 poem

The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.



A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

8.4 (Fall 2008)




The Shulamite

(four and twenty honeyed lines to set before the queen!)

golden streamers burst from taut-encrowning sable band,

tossed about like willow-branches laughing through a storm:

lamps of lapis lazuli allure with azure light:

beryl chimney truly straight with trimly chiselled flues:

merry rim of ruby tinge around enamel tiles:

organ-pipe of ormolu ablaze in regal strength:

flashing rods of onyx barely fleshed above the hinge,

flexed in lithe entrancing ells of gladly flaunted length;

finely cloven ends adorned with panes of lucent horn:

pertly moulded corner-blocks of perfect opal glass:

pearly ridge in bold relief across a crystal field:

sable silk pagodas pull on vibrant motley cords:

marmoreal vessel pared away in reckless curves,

flaring wildly up and down like chalice cut from jade:

jewel’s flaming lustre plays on flat celestial plain:

   motley girdle tied in gleeful loops on either side,

silver cees entwine on sable pennant’s airy silk:

blithe and lovely shafts of flint sublimely long and firm,

pure cylindral pillar-stems of slim and slender form:

shallow domes of shelly porcelain shield the dancing hinge:

noble level-fronted columns neatly carved below,

swelling out in grace behind like lofty-breasted vase:

cloven ends of amber wedges glazedwith panes of horn.


                                    David Z. Crookes