Places

a poem by

Kamar Sultana Sheik

I asked how many they were.
They told me Seven…
The wonderful places in the World
“Which I asked?”

“The Leaning Tower of Pisa!”
Tall and Majestic and lofty.
I knew it not-
But I knew well a Tower
That hath held me against all harm,
And my childhood Wonder.
The Erect shoulder and steady arm
That I called, ‘Father”.

“The Great Wall of China!”
Long and Winding, protecting its Countryland
I’d seen it naught
But I’d looked too well
The look in the gentle eyes
When elegant maternal arms enclosed
The Apple of her Eye.

“The Hanging Gardens of Babylon!”
What skill have those hands displayed
Those that this monument of luxury made!
Yet I wondered at the many hands
Impoverished.
That labor to plant the seeds
For Multitudes to feed…

“The Statue of Liberty, America!”
The symbol of unbound Freedom…
I thought of the Eagle that perches
Amongst the barren Stony Peaks, soaring free.
Delighting in its feat of Victory.
And of the many millionaires that live in golden prisons, trembling
At the mumbled name of Defeat!

“The Pyramids of Egypt!”
The tombs of dead, treasured
With all their earthly luxury lain beside.
I thought of those
Whose bodies own not a grave
Yet their Immortal Souls live in every mortal mind
In every shade of Pastel and every syllable etched on paper.

“The Colossus of Rhodes!”
The colossal wreck of the King.
Who built his visage in stone
Demanding the salute of every passer-by.
I smiled as I thought of the Prince
Who left his Palace to sit under a Tree that bore no fruit…
Which now receives the hearty tribute
Of Strangers who chance upon it.

“The Taj of India!”
A dream in white Marble Elegance.
Doubtless a tale of Fervent Love.
Yet, somehow the dismal cold Stone
Does not match the warm glowing heart
Of a Living Monument.
The humming kettle of a Happy Home
Whose doors welcome for Centuries to come
All feet that shall cross its threshold!

“Tis not the Place that so much matters
As its Persona.
For the place that had felt the feet
Of one beloved
May throb with the Life of another!
A Castle can be all but a wealthy Cage
And a hovel humble the magic Carpet
That shall embark on the Parapet of Freedom!

No Tomb nor Tower
Nor the elegance of the Epitaph
Not all that is erected upon the Earth
Can stand as strong
As the Mirror of the Faces and the Mortal Minds,
That brought a smile to an unsmiling face.
Like the deeds of those Hands dead,
That are etched in the Hearts
Of all living.

Its all in the hones Heart.
In the state of the merciful Mind.
In the Soul that sings of Truth
In the Hands that give.
These hold a Place
In the History of Earth
That no Place ever shall hold
Wonder, or no Wonder!
No wonder!!!