Cafes In Damascus

LANGUIDLY the night-wind bloweth
From the gardens round,
Where the clear Barrada floweth
With a lulling sound.

Not the lute-note's sweet shiver
Can such music find,
As is on a wandering river,
On a wandering wind.

There the Moslem leaneth, dreaming
O'er the inward world,
While around the fragrant steaming
Of the smoke is curled.

Rising from the coffee berry,
Dark grape of the South;
Or the pipe of polished cherry,
With its amber mouth.

Cooled by passing through the water,
Gurgling as it flows—
Scented by the Summer's daughter,
June's impassioned rose.

By that rose's spirit haunted
Are the dreams that rise,
Of far lands, and lives enchanted,
And of deep black eyes.

Thus with some sweet dream's assistance,
Float they down life's stream;
Would to heaven our whole existence
Could be such a dream!

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Letitia Elizabeth Landon

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was an English poet. Born 14th August 1802 at 25 Hans Place, Chelsea, she lived through the most productive period of her life nearby, at No.22. A precocious child with a natural gift for poetry, she was driven by the financial needs of her family to become a professional writer and thus a target for malicious gossip (although her three children by William Jerdan were successfully hidden from the public). In 1838, she married George Maclean, governor of Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast, whence she travelled, only to die a few months later (15th October) of a fatal heart condition. Behind her post-Romantic style of sentimentality lie preoccupations with art, decay and loss that give her poetry its characteristic intensity and in this vein she attempted to reinterpret some of the great male texts from a woman’s perspective. Her originality rapidly led to her being one of the most read authors of her day and her influence, commencing with Tennyson in England and Poe in America, was long-lasting. However, Victorian attitudes led to her poetry being misrepresented and she became excluded from the canon of English literature, where she belongs. more…

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"Cafes In Damascus" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 20 Feb. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/25682/cafes-in-damascus>.

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